- Attorney General Paula Dow and Criminal
Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced
that a Burlington County woman has pleaded
guilty to stealing more than $9,000 in workers’
compensation disability insurance benefits.
to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Riza
Dagli, Tomica S. Cooper, 40, of Willingboro,
pleaded guilty yesterday (March 17) to second-degree
insurance fraud before Superior Court Judge
James W. Palmer, Jr. in Burlington County.
The charge was contained in a Burlington
County grand jury indictment returned on
May 22, 2008.
Judge Palmer scheduled sentencing for April
28. Under the plea agreement, the Office
of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will recommend
that Cooper be sentenced to three years
in state prison, but the prison sentence
will be suspended provided she successfully
completes five years of special probation
under a Drug Court program where she will
be under intense supervision. In addition,
Cooper will be required to pay full restitution
in the amount of $9,442.66.
the guilty plea hearing, Cooper admitted
that between July 13, 2003 and Aug. 4, 2004,
she filed two workers’ compensation
disability claims and repeatedly lied to
The Hartford Insurance Company in order
to collect $9,442.66 in benefits to which
she was not entitled. In 2003, Cooper had
been employed by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The
first claim was filed in June 2003. Although
she returned to work in July 2003, Cooper
failed to notify the insurance company and
continued to collect benefits until December
2003. Wal-Mart terminated Cooper’s
employment on Jan. 12, 2004. Approximately
two weeks after being terminated, Cooper
filed the second claim, lying about her
employment status and about her alleged
admitted that in the seven months following
her submission of the fraudulent claim,
she placed telephone calls to the insurance
company impersonating an employee from her
physician’s office and lying about
medical matters. Cooper also admitted that
she forged her doctor’s signature
on a physician’s statement and submitted
that false document to the insurance company
in support of the fraudulent claim.
Anne Hayes and Civil Investigator Wilbert
Sowney were assigned to the investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Geraldine D. Zidow
represented the state at the guilty plea
hearing. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
Dagli thanked The Hartford Insurance Company
for its assistance in the investigation.