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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
January 25, 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

Union County Man Pleads Guilty to $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 pleaded guilty to theft for receiving stolen automobiles worth more than $170,000, and “re-tagging” them.

According to Director McKoy and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Mariusz Mroczka, 25, Lafayette Street, Linden, Union County, pleaded guilty on Jan. 19 before Union County Superior Court Judge John S. Triarsi to a criminal Accusation filed by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor. The Accusation charged Mroczka with receiving stolen property (2nd degree). When sentenced on April 15, Mroczka faces up to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000.

At the guilty plea, 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. 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, Marc Cofone, Scott Stevens, and Jose Vendas, and Deputy Attorney General Richard W. Queen were assigned to the investigation into this case. DAG Queen represented the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the guilty plea 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 .”

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