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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
September 21, 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

 

Rachel Sacharow
609-984-1936

 

Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Charges Monmouth County Lawyer with $88,000 Insurance Disability Theft

TRENTON - Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy announced that the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has obtained a State Grand Jury indictment charging a Monmouth County attorney with falsifying records and stealing more than $88,000 in insurance disability monies to which he was not entitled.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, John F. Rhody, 60, River Road, Fair Haven, Monmouth County, was charged with theft by deception (2nd degree), and two counts each of falsifying or tampering with records and contempt of court (all 4th degree). If convicted of all counts, Rhody faces up to 16 years in state prison and a fine of up to $190,000. Rhody also faces the possibility of the imposition of civil insurance fraud fines.

The indictment alleges that between June, 1999 and July, 2002, Rhody, an attorney formerly employed by the Ocean-Monmouth Counties Legal Services Office, misrepresented facts and falsified records in order to obtain $88,000 in long term disability to which he was not entitled. Rhody allegedly created the false impression to Standard Insurance Company that he was disabled from all occupations, was not self employed, had no hobbies, and was not a member of any clubs or organizations. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Rhody was actually working by buying and selling more than 1,500 post cards on Ebay and at several trade shows throughout New York and New Jersey at the same time he was purportedly disabled and collecting disability insurance.

The indictment also alleges that Rhody knowingly submitted false records about his disability, occupation, and income during a court proceeding in front of Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul A. Kapalko, Chancery Division, Family Part, on March 19, 2002.

The investigation further revealed that Rhody was held in contempt of court for disobeying two court orders issued by Judge Kapalko - one issued on March 28, 2002 and the second on May 2, 2002 - prohibiting the sale of the postcards.

State Investigator Anthony Butler, Civil Investigator Michael Troso, and Deputy Attorney General Steven B. Farman were assigned to the investigation. DAG Farman represented the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor before the State Grand Jury. The case was referred to the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor by Standard Insurance Company.

“Far too often this office receives allegations that persons who are disabled are actually working and collecting disability insurance,” said Fraud Prosecutor Brown. “This indictment demonstrates our resolve to prosecute persons who commit disability insurance fraud. As it has in the past, this office will vigorously investigate and prosecute this type of activity.”

The indictment, which was handed up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Maria M. Sypek on Sept. 20, is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


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