- Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced
that an Atlantic County man pleaded guilty
today to conspiracy to commit aggravated arson
in Camden County. The defendant is currently
serving an 11-year prison sentence after being
convicted of attempted theft by deception,
conspiracy, and witness tampering charges
related to a separate fire in Atlantic County.
Siligato, 62, of Hammonton, pleaded guilty
to second-degree conspiracy to commit aggravated
arson before Superior Court Judge Ronald
J. Freeman in Camden County. The charge
was contained in a state grand jury indictment
returned in February 2007.
Freeman scheduled sentencing for March 23.
Under the plea agreement, the state will
recommend that Siligato be sentenced to
five years in state prison, to run concurrently
to the 11-year state prison sentence previously
imposed in Atlantic County. Under the plea
agreement, the state is also recommending
that Siligato pay $83,354.84 in restitution
to Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company.
pleading guilty today, Siligato admitted
that on April 8, 2005, he agreed with one
or more unindicted co-conspirators to start
a fire in a vacant dwelling located at 750
South Whitehorse Pike in Winslow Township,
Camden County. Siligato admitted that his
purpose was to promote or facilitate the
commission of the crime of aggravated arson
by destroying the vacant dwelling.
July 2006, Siligato was found guilty of
attempted theft by deception, conspiracy,
and witness tampering following an 11-week
jury trial on charges related to a 1998
fire at his property and related claims
he filed with Farmers Mutual Insurance Company.
Siligato was sentenced to 11 years in state
prison by Superior Court Judge Albert Garofolo
in Atlantic County for those charges.
began serving the 11-year state prison sentence
in October 2011, after the Superior Court
of New Jersey, Appellate Division, affirmed
the defendant’s 2006 convictions.
Attorney General Lisa Sarnoff Gochman and
Lieutenant Robert Stemmer, Detective Scott
Capone and Civil Investigator Joseph Salvatore
were assigned to the investigation. Gochman
represented the Office of the Insurance
Fraud Prosecutor at the guilty plea hearing.
Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald 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.