- Attorney General Stuart Rabner and Division
of Criminal Justice Director Gregory A.
Paw announced that a Pennsylvania man has
been indicted for his alleged role in an
auto theft and insurance fraud ring.
to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden
Brown, Artur Lapinski, 27, of Bethlehem,
Pa., was indicted by a Middlesex County
grand jury on Oct. 25 on second-degree charges
of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud,
conspiracy, receiving stolen property, and
fencing, as well as third-degree charges
of conspiracy, receiving stolen property
and fencing. The indictment was handed up
on Nov. 1 to Superior Court Judge Frederick
P. DeVesa in Middlesex County.
date, the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
has identified roughly $803,000 worth of
stolen automobiles as a result of the wide-ranging
investigation in which Lapinski was indicted.
indictment alleges that between Nov. 19
and Nov. 23, 2004, Lapinski knowingly sold
a stolen 2005 BMW M3 to an undercover investigator
for $5,500. The car had allegedly been stolen
from the Inskip Auto Center in Warwick,
indictment also alleges that between March
28 and April 22, 2005, Lapinski conspired
to commit insurance fraud. It is alleged
that Lapinski agreed with another person
to sell an Infiniti QX4 so that the owner
of the Infiniti QX4 could falsely report
it as stolen to the insurance company. The
QX4 was allegedly falsely reported as stolen
to the Linden Police Department by Grzegorz
Miekina, 30, of Linden. Miekina pleaded
guilty before Judge Scott J. Moynihan in
Union County on Oct. 12 and is scheduled
to be sentenced on Dec.1.
indictment further alleges that between
Nov. 8 and Nov.10, 2004, Lapinski conspired
with other persons to possess and sell two
stolen 2005 Hummer H2 motor vehicles for
$6,000 each. It is alleged that the motor
vehicles belonged to James Hummer, an automobile
dealership in Flemington.
indictment is part of a wide-ranging investigation
into automobile thefts from dealerships
and automobile “give ups.” A
give up occurs when the owner of an automobile
voluntarily gives his car to another in
order to submit a phony auto theft insurance
claim. The car is typically chopped for
parts or retagged with a new vehicle identification
number and sold.
investigation has identified a conspiracy
to steal cars and facilitate owner give
ups on a large scale,” Prosecutor
Brown said. “The property loss and
phony insurance claims uncovered in this
wide-ranging investigation may exceed $1
million. The investigation is continuing
and additional charges are expected.”
investigation is being handled by State
Investigators Jeffrey Lorman, Jarek Pyrzanowski,
Joseph Luccarelli, Wendy Wylie and Kelly
Howard, Civil Investigator Gary Miller,
Analysts Paula Carter and Barbara Ziolkowski,
and Deputy Attorney General Jacqueline D.
Smith. Smith presented the case to the grand
indictment is merely an accusation and the
defendant is presumed innocent until proven
guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a sentence
of up to 10 years in state prison and a
criminal fine of $150,000, while third-degree
crimes carry a maximum sentence of five
years in prison and a criminal fine of $15,000.
In addition, Lapinski may face civil insurance
Prosecutor 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 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.
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.