– Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa
and Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald
Chillemi announced that a Union City woman
and her Jersey City brother were indicted
today for their alleged roles in a scheme
to submit false auto insurance claims.
to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi,
Libia Mendoza, 37, of Union City and her
brother, Leonel Mendoza, 39, of Jersey City,
were charged with second-degree conspiracy,
second-degree insurance fraud, third-degree
tampering with public records, and third-degree
attempted theft by deception.
The state grand jury indictment alleges
that between May 12, 2010, and Sept. 25,
2011, Leonel Mendoza fraudulently reported
an alleged hit and run accident, via telephone,
to MetLife Auto and Home Insurance Company.
Leonel Mendoza allegedly reported the accident
on behalf of his sister, Libia Mendoza,
the insured, and alleged claimed that a
phantom vehicle caused damage to Libia’s
2005, BMW X5. It is also alleged that Leonel,
on behalf of Libia, completed and submitted
a false New Jersey Motor Vehicle Accident
Report to the Jersey City Police Department
alleging the hit and run accident.
investigation determined that Libia Mendoza
allegedly submitted the false Motor Vehicle
Accident Report to MetLife in furtherance
of her insurance claim for approximately
$10,095 in benefits. MetLife denied the
claim and referred the matter to the Office
of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.
indictment also alleges that Libia and Leonel
Mendoza provided a MetLife representative
with a false voluntary recorded statement
detailing the alleged hit and run accident
that purportedly caused damage to Libia’s
2005 BMW X5.
Attorney General Carlos A. Lopez and Detective
Scott Stevens were assigned to the investigation.
Lopez presented the case to the state grand
jury. Acting Prosecutor Chillemi thanked
Special Investigator Bryan Dunigan of MetLife
Auto & Home for his assistance in the
indictment is merely an accusation and the
defendants are presumed innocent until proven
guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a maximum
punishment of 10 years in state prison and
a criminal fine of $150,000, while third-degree
crimes carry a maximum punishment of five
years in state prison and a criminal fine
Insurance Fraud 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 at 1-877-55-FRAUD,
or visiting the Web site at www.NJInsurancefraud.org
. State regulations permit a reward to be
paid to an eligible person who provides
information that leads to an arrest, prosecution
and conviction for insurance fraud.