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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
October 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

 

Middlesex County Businessman Charged with Falsifying Documents in Order to Steal Money from Insurance Company

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 Middlesex County businessman with attempted theft and forgery for submitting an inflated commercial property damage claim to his insurance company.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Spiros Martini, 54, of Parker Court, South Amboy, Middlesex County, was charged with attempted theft by deception (3rd degree) and forgery (4th degree). If convicted on both charges, Martini faces up to six and a half years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $25,000. Martini also faces the possibility of the imposition of civil insurance fraud fines. Martini will be ordered to appear in Middlesex County Superior Court for a bail and arraignment hearing on a date yet to be determined.

The Oct. 19 indictment alleges that between September 2002 and April 2003, Martini falsified certain documents in order to inflate a fire loss claim that he submitted to Franklin Mutual Insurance Company for a business property that he leased out to tenants. On April 11, 2001, Martini’s business property, which included a computer business as well as a rubber business, located at 3604 Rt. 35, South Amboy, was damaged by a fire. Martini subsequently submitted a $38,117 fire loss insurance claim to Franklin Mutual Insurance Company.

An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that, during the course of adjusting the claim, Martini falsified an amendment to a lease indicating that he was due to be reimbursed property taxes from tenants at the commercial site. It is charged that in the initial commercial lease of the property, signed by the tenants, did not require the renters to pay for property taxes. The investigation revealed that Martini grafted the signatures of the renters onto the amendment, so that he could incorporate the tax money into his claim. Mutual Insurance Company denied the entire claim and referred the matter to the Division of Criminal Justice.

State Investigator Earl Washington and Deputy Attorney General Lewis J. Korngut were assigned to the investigation. DAG Korngut represented the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor before the State Grand Jury.

“Far too frequently, insurance companies refer cases to this office for investigation involving businessmen who fraudulently pad commercial claims,” Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Brown said. “This conduct not only damages the business reputation of persons who engage in it, but, as in this case, frequently leads to criminal prosecution. As is true in health and auto insurance, there is too much fraud in commercial insurance as well.”

An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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