- Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Acting
Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi
announced that an Atlantic County man surrendered
himself this morning to the Atlantic County
Justice Facility to begin serving an 11-year
state prison sentence after an Appellate
Division panel affirmed the defendant’s
2006 convictions for witness tampering and
theft charges related to an arson and insurance
to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi,
Samuel Siligato, 61, of Pleasant Mills Road,
Hammonton, today began serving an 11-year
prison sentence. Siligato was sentenced
to state prison by Superior Court Judge
Albert J. Garofolo of Atlantic County on
Sept. 7, 2006, but had been free on bail
pending appeal. On Oct. 7, 2011, the Superior
Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division,
affirmed Siligato’s convictions and
Attorney General Lisa Sarnoff Gochman handled
the appeal for the Office of the Insurance
surrender by Mr. Siligato underscores the
Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor’s
perseverance to ensure that justice is served,
no matter how long it takes,” Acting
Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi said.
“I commend all of the deputy attorneys
general, detectives and support staff that
saw this case through from beginning to
July 24, 2006, following an 11-week jury
trial in front of Judge Garofolo, Siligato
was convicted of attempted theft by deception
and conspiracy, both in the second-degree,
and two counts of third-degree witness tampering.
Those charges were contained in two separate
state grand jury indictments obtained by
the Division of Criminal Justice - Office
of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.
Sept. 7, 2006, Judge Garofolo sentenced
Siligato to two concurrent terms of five
years in prison on each of the two second-degree
charges, with the terms to be served concurrently.
He sentenced Siligato to three years on
the first witness tampering charge, to be
served consecutively to the theft and conspiracy
term, and three years on the second witness
tampering charge, also to be served consecutively,
bringing the total to 11 years.
The jury determined that between September
1998 and November 2002, Siligato conspired
to steal more than $180,000 from First Trenton
Insurance Company by submitting false property
damage claims following a fire at a commercial
property located at 801 South White Horse
Pike (U.S. Rte. 30), Winslow Township, Camden
County. The fire, which occurred on Sept.
29, 1998, was ruled an arson by the New
Jersey State Police Arson Unit and the Camden
County Fire Marshall. Siligato submitted
a $165,000 property damage claim for the
loss of the structure to the First Trenton
Insurance Company and a $15,000 claim for
loss of contents. First Trenton paid $180,000
for those claims, but denied an additional
loss of rental property claim.
jury also determined that Siligato attempted
to steal more than $206,000 from Farmers
Mutual Insurance Company by submitting fraudulent
property damage claims for property that
did not exist.
jury also concluded that, during the course
of Siligato’s insurance fraud trial,
the defendant approached, coerced or paid
two potential witnesses to give false testimony
at the trial.
February 2007, Siligato was charged in an
additional state grand jury indictment with
second-degree aggravated arson, second-degree
conspiracy and fourth-degree obstructing
the administration of law or other governmental
function. Those charges are still pending.
The indictment is merely an accusation and
the defendant is presumed innocent until
Robert Stemmer and Robert McGrath, Detective
Scott Caponi, Civil Investigator Joseph
Salvatore, and former Supervising Deputy
Attorney General Lewis J. Korngut were assigned
to the investigation. Korngut was the trial
attorney and represented the Office of Insurance
Fraud Prosecutor at the sentencing.
is Insurance Fraud Awareness Month in New
Jersey. Prosecutor Chillemi 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 at 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.