TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor announced that a Pennsylvania man received a three-year prison sentence today for stealing insurance payouts on claims for items purportedly lost or stolen while he was traveling around the country.
Robert Cirino, 37, whose last known address was in Reading, Pennsylvania, also must pay more than $27,000 in restitution under a sentence handed down by Superior Court Judge Candido Rodriguez in Union County today.
According to charges filed against him in April, Cirino provided fraudulent receipts, invoices and other documents in support of five fraudulent claims he submitted to Travelers Insurance between September 2015 and February 2017.
In November 2018 he pleaded guilty to third-degree theft by deception in connection with payouts on two of the claims.
“Claims theft is a crime that steals millions from New Jersey insurance providers every year and drives up premiums for honest policy holders,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The prison sentence handed down to this defendant today serves as a message of deterrence to anyone tempted to illegally exploit New Jersey’s insurance system for profit. If you are caught, you will pay the consequences.”
“Illegally collecting insurance payouts is not the path to easy money, it’s the path to prison,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Tracy M. Thompson. “This case underscores OIFP’s commitment to protecting the integrity of New Jersey’s insurance industry by vigorously investigating and prosecuting individuals who defraud it.”
According to the allegations, Cirino, who also uses the names Rafael Diaz, Michael Cirino, Christopher Sanchez, and Robert Cirino, often claimed he traveled with a wheelchair and oxygen because he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Cirino was indicted on charges of insurance fraud and theft by deception in connection with claims seeking coverage for:
- A collapsible wheelchair, a book bag containing a MacBook Pro laptop computer, $500 cash, credit cards, a cell phone case, and a toiletry kit containing medication purportedly lost on a Miami Airport terminal bus when the bus driver drove off before he could retrieve his belongings.
- A wheelchair, a book bag containing $800 cash, credit cards, an iPhone cellular telephone, an oxygen compressor, and medication purportedly stolen when a cab driver drove off with his belongings in Baltimore.
- An iPad tablet computer, medication, $1,000 cash, and clothing purportedly left by him on a train in Chicago and gone when he went to retrieve them.
- A motorized wheel chair, an oxygen condenser, an insulin pump and insulin, an iPad Pro tablet computer, and a book bag purportedly stolen when two men he accepted a ride from in Charlotte, NC, drove away with his belongings while he was using an ATM machine.
- Six MacBook Pro laptop computers he purchased as Christmas gifts purportedly stolen from the garage of a family member he was staying with in Chicago.
Travelers Insurance paid the first two claims and denied the rest.
Deputy Attorney General Crystal Callahan represented the State at the sentencing hearing. Detectives Amy Carson and John Cicchino coordinated the investigation. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Thompson thanked the National Insurance Crime Bureau for its assistance in the case, and Travelers Insurance for referring the matter to OIFP.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Thompson 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.