- Attorney General Stuart Rabner and Division
of Criminal Justice Director Gregory A.
Paw announced that a Newark man and a Paterson
woman have been indicted for allegedly using
a stolen identity to buy a car on credit.
to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden
Brown, Alif James, 31, of Newark, and Michelle
Chappell, 30, of Paterson, were charged
with conspiracy and theft by deception,
both in the third degree. In addition, James
was charged with third-degree theft of identity.
The indictment, returned by a Hudson County
grand jury on Oct. 17 and handed up late
yesterday, alleges that James and Chappell
conspired to commit identity theft and theft
of a car by deception. Specifically, it
is alleged that James bought a 1998 Honda
Accord from the Bob Ciasulli Auto Group
on credit on June 25, 2001 using the identity
of an Elizabeth man which he had stolen.
It is alleged that Chappell co-signed certain
records for the Honda purchase knowing James
was using someone else’s identity.
indictment, which was handed up to Superior
Court Judge Peter J. Vazquez in Hudson County,
is merely an accusation and the defendants
are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case is being handled by State Investigator
Vincent Gaeta and Deputy Attorney General
Philip J. Mogavero. Third-degree crimes
carry a maximum punishment of five years
in state prison and a criminal fine of $15,000.
Brown 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
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.
Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor was
established by the Automobile Insurance
Cost Reduction Act of 1998. The office is
the centralized state agency that investigates
and prosecutes both civil and criminal insurance
fraud, as well as Medicaid fraud.