|TRENTON - Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a former employee for a now-defunct Camden County construction company has pleaded guilty for his role in an insurance fraud scheme that targeted homes purportedly damaged by hail.
Marcin Gradziel, 34, of Lake Worth, FL, who lived in Pennsylvania at the time of the crime, pleaded guilty Friday (Aug. 2) to second-degree insurance fraud before Superior Court Judge Terrence R. Cook in Burlington County. The charge was contained in a state grand jury indictment returned on June 14, 2011.
Judge Cook scheduled sentencing for Oct. 18. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend thatGradziel be sentenced to seven years in state prison.
“This defendant inflicted unnecessary damage to homes and caused an unwarranted financial burden on innocent homeowners,” Acting Attorney General Hoffman said. “This office will continue to investigate and prosecute those who seek to take advantage of New Jersey homeowners for their own, selfish purposes.”
“Schemes such as this one defraud not only the victim but also drive up the cost of insurance premiums for the rest of us,” Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi said. “As illustrated by this guilty plea, such conduct will not be tolerated in New Jersey.”
In pleading guilty, Gradziel admitted that in December 2010, acting on behalf of Precision Network Solutions, d.b.a. Precision Builders, of Voorhees, he caused fraudulent property damage insurance claims to be submitted to Traveler’s Insurance Company, for property damage to three homes within Gloucester and Camden Counties purportedly caused by hail storms.
An investigation determined that representatives from Precision Builders were canvassing neighborhoods and were claiming that homes had been damaged in a hail storm and advising homeowners that they could get new siding and roofing at no cost.
Several homeowners told investigators that they were not aware that they had any hail damage to their homes before being solicited by Precision Builders. An investigation determined that, after homeowners filed claims with their insurance carrier, Gradziel would visit and damage the properties prior to the adjusters’ inspections.
On March 26, 2012, Gradziel's co-defendant, Dominik Sadowski, 37, of Sellersville, Pa., pleaded guilty to third-degree insurance fraud before Superior Court Judge Ronald Bookbinder in Burlington County. In addition, Precision Network Solutions, d.b.a. Precision Builders, pleaded guilty to second-degree insurance fraud. Precision Builders paid $68,720 in restitution prior to being sentenced and the company went out of business as a result of the investigation.
Sergeant Anthony Butler and Detective Janessa Jones were assigned to the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Thomas G. Tresansky, Jr. represented the state at the guilty plea. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi thanked Traveler’s Insurance Company, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General Insurance Fraud Unit, the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office and the National Insurance Crime Bureau for their assistance in the investigation.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi 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.