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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
August 2, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
- Greta Gooden Brown, Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

 

John R. Hagerty
609-984-1936

 

Middlesex County Man Ordered to Pay $25,000 in Fines and Restitution after Pleading Guilty to Insurance Fraud “Give-Up” Scheme

TRENTON - Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy announced that a Middlesex County man has been order to pay more than $25,000 in restitution and fines after pleading guilty to participating in an insurance fraud “give-up” scheme.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Larnardo (Larry) R. Pittman, 39, Bergen Street, South Plainfield, Middlesex County, was sentenced by Somerset County Superior Court Judge Paul W. Armstrong to serve 277 days in the Somerset County Jail (credit for time served) and ordered to pay $19,000 in restitution and a $5,000 civil insurance fraud fine pursuant to the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act.

Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Brown said that Pittman pleaded guilty before Judge Armstrong on Feb. 22 to a charge of theft by deception. Pittman had been indicted by a State Grand Jury on April 29, 2004. In pleading guilty, Pittman admitted that he reported his 2000 Ford F-350 pick-up truck stolen to the Newark Police Department on June 9, 2002. Pittman also reported the purported theft to The Zurich North American Insurance Company, the owner of Empire Insurance Company. Empire processed the claim and paid approximately $29,000 to Pittman based on the theft claim. The Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor’s investigation determined that Pittman’s report that the truck had been stolen on June 9, 2002 in Newark was false.

The investigation was conducted by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor which investigates and prosecutes civil and criminal insurance fraud cases. State Investigator Joseph Luccarelli, Civil Investigator Frank Crossan, and Deputy Attorney General Valerie A. Noto were assigned to the investigation. DAG Noto represented the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the sentencing.

"Fraudulent automobile insurance theft claims resulting from automobile "give up" schemes remain a priority for the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor," said Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Brown. "Too many people are willing to lie to an insurance company by claiming that their car was stolen in order to avoid repair bills or end-of-lease payments. This prosecution demonstrates our resolve to vigorously investigate and prosecute such cases.”

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