- Attorney General Anne Milgram and Criminal
Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni announced
that a Passaic County man has been sentenced
for his role in a phony check scam allegedly
perpetrated by a former insurance company
to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden
Brown, Wilson Ruiz, 27, of Paterson, was ordered
by Superior Court Judge Paul J. Vichness in
Essex County on Friday (March 27) to serve
18 months probation and pay a $1,500 civil
insurance fraud fine. The sentence was the
result of Ruiz’s guilty plea to theft
by deception, a charge contained in a Nov.
1, 2006 state grand jury indictment.
pleading guilty on Dec. 18, 2008, Ruiz admitted
that on or about April 30, 2002, he falsely
obtained and negotiated a check in the amount
of $6,488 from Prudential Insurance Company.
The judge today also ordered Ruiz to pay $1,851
in restitution to the Prudential Insurance
Company. The other portion of the stolen funds
was previously seized by the state from a
bank account where the check had been deposited.
of Ruiz’s co-defendants, Guillermo Rosario,
31, of Clifton, pleaded guilty on Jan. 31,
2007 to theft by deception and was sentenced
to two years’ probation and ordered
to pay $6,072 in fines and restitution.
remain pending against two other defendants
who were indicted with Ruiz and Rosario on
Nov. 1, 2006. They are Melita Bilali, 30,
of Wallington, a former employee of the Prudential
Insurance Company, and Greicy Rodriguez, 26,
of Orlando, Florida.
indictment alleges that between March 18 and
May 3, 2002, Bilali, who was a customer service
representative in the Prudential Insurance
Company’s Disability Management Services
Division in Livingston, diverted funds to
herself and the other defendants. It is charged
that Bilali accessed Prudential’s computer
system and changed the addresses on three
policies to coincide with a friend’s
address. She then issued three fraudulent
claim checks for those policies to that address.
It is alleged that Bilali immediately switched
the policies back to reflect the correct customer
information. As a result, the defendants allegedly
stole more than $7,500 in claims money from
Prudential. Ruiz was involved in cashing one
of the checks for $6,488.
also allegedly diverted disability premium
checks that other companies sent to Prudential.
Specifically, Bilali allegedly gave Rosario
a check in the amount of $3,572 from Encompass
Management Company to cash so they could share
the proceeds. Rosario admitted that he kept
the money for himself. In addition, Bilali
allegedly gave Rodriguez a check for approximately
$2,530 from Proctor & Gamble Pharmaceuticals.
Rodriguez allegedly cashed the check and gave
the money back to Bilali.
Janet Amberg, Civil Investigator Charlie Canfield,
and Deputy Attorneys General Joan M. Burke
and James Flanagan were assigned to the investigation.
Flanagan represented the Office of Insurance
Fraud Prosecutor at the sentencing.
case was referred to OIFP by the Special Investigative
Unit of 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.
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.
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.