TRENTON - Attorney General
Anne Milgram and Criminal Justice Director
Deborah L. Gramiccioni announced that a
former Essex County insurance company employee
and four others were charged late yesterday
(Dec. 18) in an 11-count state grand jury
indictment with conspiring to steal more
than $94,100 in fraudulent disability insurance
According to Insurance Fraud
Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, LaShondrea
Tucker, 31, of Plainfield, was charged with
conspiracy, insurance fraud, theft by deception,
and computer theft (all in the 2nd degree),
as well as fourth-degree falsifying records.
Erick Streeter, 43, of Newark, was charged
with conspiracy and insurance fraud (both
2nd degree) and two counts of third-degree
theft by deception. Deborah Ruffin, 48,
of Newark, and Angie Fedrick, 33, also of
Newark, were each charged with conspiracy,
theft by deception and uttering a forged
instrument, all in the third-degree. Louise
Fedrick, 38, of Irvington, Angie’s
sister, was charged with forgery, conspiracy
and theft by deception, all in the third-degree.
The indictment alleges
that between Sept. 22, 2003 and March 23,
2004, LaShondrea Tucker, who was employed
as a disability claims manager for Prudential
Insurance Company in Newark, created fraudulent
disability claims using the names and other
identifiers of actual people enrolled in
a teachers’ disability plan. Tucker
allegedly diverted 21 checks and two electronic
funds transfers totaling over $94,100. The
diverted checks, totaling $66,700, were
sent to Streeter, Louise and Angie Fedrick,
and Ruffin, all of whom allegedly cashed
the checks. Louise Fedrick allegedly forged
the signatures on the checks for deposit.
The investigation further revealed that
LaShondrea Tucker opened an internet bank
account with Net Bank. Two electronic funds
transfers in the approximate amount of $27,400
were subsequently deposited into the Net
Bank account representing fraudulent sick
pay from Prudential Insurance Company.
Detective Weldon Powell, Civil Investigator
Robert Brescia and Deputy Attorney General
Joan M. Burke were assigned to the investigation
into this case. Burke presented the case
to the state grand jury.
“Insurance carrier employees who commit
insurance fraud violate the trust of the
public, and they do so at a significant
expense to people who play by the rules,”
said Prosecutor Brown. “As it has
in the past, the Office of the Insurance
Fraud Prosecutor will continue to vigorously
investigate and prosecute this type of criminal
This case was referred to OIFP by the Special
Investigative Unit of the Prudential Insurance
Company which initially uncovered the fraud
and assisted OIFP in the investigation.
Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Brown thanked
Prudential for its assistance in this matter.
The indictment is merely an accusation.
The defendant is presumed to be innocent
until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes
carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in
state prison and a criminal fine of $150,000;
crimes of the third degree carry a maximum
sentence of five years in state prison and
a criminal fine of $15,000, while fourth-degree
crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months
in state prison and a criminal fine of up
Prosecutor Brown noted that some important
cases have started with anonymous tips.
People who are concerned about insurance
cheating and have information about a fraud
can report it anonymously by calling the
toll-free hotline 1-877-55-FRAUD
or visiting the Web site www.njinsurancefraud.org.
State regulations permit an award to be
paid to an eligible person who provides
information that leads to an arrest, prosecution
and conviction for insurance fraud.
The Office of Insurance
Fraud Prosecutor was established by the
Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act
of 1998. The office is the centralized state
agency that investigates and prosecutes
both civil and criminal insurance fraud,
as well as Medicaid fraud.