|TRENTON - Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a former Essex County insurance agent pleaded guilty today for diverting more than $26,900 worth of life insurance proceeds to herself.
Susan Caines, 61, of East Orange, pleaded guilty to third-degree theft by deception before Superior Court Judge Scott J. Moynihan in Union County. The charge was contained in a Feb. 24, 2010 Union County grand jury indictment
Judge Moynihan scheduled sentencing for Oct. 12. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Caines be sentenced to 364 days in county jail as a condition of probation. Caines has agreed to pay $26,905 in restitution.
In pleading guilty, Caines admitted that between August 2004 and December 2005, while employed as an agent for Monumental Life Insurance Company, she participated in a scheme in which false disbursement request forms were sent to Monumental Life Insurance Company for payment, from accounts that had been dormant. These fraudulent request forms purportedly represented the requests of certain life insurance policy holders to claim insurance proceeds from existing policies. Caines subsequently cashed $26,905 to which she was not entitled. Although the policies were fraudulently cashed out, Monumental Life Insurance Company subsequently made good on all of the policies so that none of the customers lost coverage or money through Caines’ illegal actions.
Deputy Attorneys General Dennis Kwasnik and Carlos Lopez prosecuted the case and represented the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the guilty plea hearing.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi thanked Monumental Life Insurance Company for referring this matter to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and for assisting in the investigation. The Department of Banking and Insurance routinely assists the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor with the investigation and prosecution of licensed insurance agents. This assistance enables the State to coordinate criminal investigations and prosecutions with any imposition of licensing sanctions in order to protect the public.