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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
May 13, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director
Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
- Greta Gooden Brown, Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

 

Rachel Sacharow
609-984-1936

 

Union County Man Sentenced to State Prison for $170,000 Auto Theft as Part of “Re-Tagging” Scam

TRENTON - Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy announced that a Union County man has been sentenced to state prison for receiving stolen automobiles worth more than $170,000, and “re-tagging” them.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Mariusz Mroczka, 25, Lafayette Street, Linden, Union County, was sentenced by Union County Superior Court Judge John S. Triarsi to four years in state prison and ordered to pay more than $46,114 in restitution. Mroczka was sentenced pursuant to his Jan. 19 guilty plea to a criminal Accusation filed by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor. The Accusation charged Mroczka with receiving stolen property.

In pleading guilty before Judge Triarsi, Mroczka admitted that between Sept. 26 and Oct. 2, 2003, he took possession of four cars with a combined value of $170,000 - a 2001 Lexus IS 300, a 2001 Lexus GS 430, a 2003 Lexus SC 430, and a 1997 Volkswagen Jetta. Mroczka took possession of the stolen cars both for his personal use and so that they could be “re-tagged” and re-sold. Re-tagging a vehicle means that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is removed from the car and a different VIN is placed on the car so that it can be hidden from law enforcement and appear to be not stolen.

While executing a search warrant on Mrockza’s property, state investigators from the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor found the stolen cars and returned them to the insurance companies. In addition, investigators found various parts from other automobiles, mechanic’s tools, and other evidence consistent with vehicle re-tagging.

An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that, following the thefts, the owners of the cars submitted automobile insurance theft claims to several insurance companies, including New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, AIG Insurance Company, Allstate Insurance Company, and the Peerless Insurance Company.

State Investigators, Jarek Pyrzanowski and Jeffrey Lorman were in charge of the investigation. State Investigators, Scott Stevens, Marc Cofone, Joe Vendas, Ned Shaw, Tony Petreski and Luis Cruz assisted in the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Richard Queen represented the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the sentencing hearing.

“Frequently insurance fraud investigations lead to evidence of stolen automobiles and alteration of automobile VIN’s,” Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown said. “This particular theft was uncovered as part of an insurance fraud investigation of stolen vehicles. The Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will continue to follow evidence of fraud and theft wherever it leads.”

Noting that some important cases have begun with anonymous tips from the public, Prosecutor Brown emphasized that individuals can make a difference. “We need people’s information, not their identities. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have any information about a fraud can call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visit our Web site at www.NJInsurancefraud.org .”

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