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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
July 6, 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

 

John R. Hagerty
609-984-1936

 

Four North Jersey Residents Plead Guilty to Insurance Fraud...
Ordered to Pay $27,000 in Fines and Restitution for Staged Automobile Accident...

TRENTON - Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy announced that four North Jersey residents have been ordered to pay thousands of dollars in restitution and criminal fines for participating in a scheme to stage fake automobile accidents and to obtain more than $31,000 in phony insurance claims.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Gladys Roman, 38, 6th Street, Carlstadt, Bergen County; Manuel Hernandez, 33, Sylvan Terrace, Paterson, Passaic County; Yaneris Diaz, 37, Carlisle Lane, Paterson, Passaic County; and Hernando Nhar, 36, High Street, Paterson, Passaic County, were ordered by Passaic County Superior Court Judge Randolph F. Subryan to each pay a $2,500 civil insurance fraud fine and to serve a two years probation. Additionally, the defendants were ordered to pay restitution totaling $17,561.00.

The defendants, charged via a State Grand Jury indictment returned on Dec. 13, 2004, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit Health Care Claims Fraud and theft by deception on April 11, 2005. In pleading guilty, the defendants admitted that between Oct. 13, 1998 and Dec. 13, 1999, to participating in a “staged” motor vehicle accident in which a car occupied by Quiroz Mazo, Nhar, and Erik Bula, 34, Colonial Avenue, Paterson, was struck in the rear by a vehicle occupied by Roman, Hernandez, and Diaz.

An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that the accident was staged. Roman, Hernandez, Diaz, Quiroz Mazo and Nhar submitted phony Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claims and bodily injury claims to Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and to ELCO Administrative Service for payment for “pain and suffering” sustained as result of the purported accident. Additionally, Roman, Hernandez, Diaz, Quiroz Mazo, and Nhar sought medical treatment for injuries sustained in the purported accident. More than $31,000 in PIP and bodily injury claims were paid to the defendants as a result of the fraudulent claims.

A fifth defendant, Claudia Quiroz Mazo, 28, Miller Avenue, Elmwood Park, Bergen County, pleaded guilty on May 9 to theft by deception. Quiroz Mazo’s sentencing is scheduled for July 22 before Judge Subryan. On July 21, 2004, Bula pleaded guilty to a criminal Accusation before Passaic County Superior Court Judge Marilyn C. Clark to Health Care Claims Fraud and theft by deception. Bula admitted the accident was staged. Bula was sentenced on March 11 to two years probation, ordered to pay $5,437 in restitution, and to pay a $5,000 civil insurance fraud fine.

The investigation was conducted by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor which investigates and prosecutes civil and criminal insurance fraud cases. State Investigator Joe Vendas and Deputy Attorney General Dennis Kwasnik were assigned to the investigation. DAG Kwasnik represented the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the sentencing
.
“Staged automobile accidents threaten lives and the resulting fraudulent claims drive automobile insurance rates up,” said Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Brown. “The Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will continue to investigate and prosecute those who choose to involve themselves in this type of criminal activity.”


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