TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor today announced charges against seven individuals in an interstate scheme to steal more than $235,000 from three insurance annuity policies.
An Ohio resident and three New Jersey residents were charged with conspiracy and theft by deception in the alleged scheme to steal money from three annuity policies issued by Lincoln Financial Group. Three others were charged with receiving stolen property in the thefts that occurred between December 2015 and September 2016.
According to documents filed in the case, the thefts occurred when Lincoln Financial Group received death claims benefit withdrawal applications from individuals purporting to be the beneficiaries of the annuity policies.
Charged in a 16-count indictment handed up by a state Grand Jury on November 14, 2019 were:
- Gaetanina Nicole Zarbo, 34, of New Albany, Ohio, who was charged with three counts of second-degree conspiracy, three counts of second-degree theft by deception, and two counts of third-degree receiving stolen property.
- Zuberu Sumaila, 27, of Newark, who was charged with second-degree conspiracy, second-degree theft by deception, and three counts of third-degree receiving stolen property.
- Emmanuel Oppong-Dabankah, 30, of North Brunswick, who was charged with second-degree conspiracy, second degree theft by deception, and two counts of third-degree receiving stolen property.
- Kojo Kumah Mensah, 27, of Newark, who was charged with second-degree conspiracy and second-degree theft by deception.
- Cecilia Fynn (a.k.a. Cecilia Lemaire), 26, of Somerset, who was charged with third-degree receiving stolen property.
- Tashae N. McCray, 23, of Rahway, who was charged with third-degree receiving stolen property.
- Latika Busby, 37, of Columbus, Ohio, who was charged with third-degree receiving stolen property.
Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000; third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Menjivar presented the case to the Grand Jury. Detective Shawn McDonald coordinated the investigation.
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 a conviction for insurance fraud.