|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has obtained a state grand jury indictment charging a Monmouth County man with allegedly filing a fraudulent insurance claim for property damages related to Superstorm Sandy.
Farouk Soliman, 73, of Little Silver, was charged yesterday (Aug. 5) with second-degree insurance fraud as well as third-degree attempted theft by deception.
“Given the impact Superstorm Sandy had on the lives of New Jersey residents, we will not allow deceitful opportunists to take advantage of this crisis and add to the economic harm suffered by the State and its residents,” Acting Attorney General Hoffman said. “The three Superstorm Sandy-related indictments filed by this office in the last three weeks are strong indicators of how serious this administration takes these shameful crimes.”
“Thousands of homeowners legitimately need funding available to them to rebuild their homes and properties in the wake of Superstorm Sandy,” Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi said. “The Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will continue to work hand-in-hand with insurance companies to identify fraudulent insurance claims so that valuable resources are not diverted for illegal purposes.”
The indictment alleges that Soliman submitted a claim to Pacific Specialty Insurance Company in November 2012 for a barn he claimed was destroyed during Superstorm Sandy. An investigation determined that Soliman falsely claimed that the barn was destroyed when a tree fell on it during Superstorm Sandy when, in fact, he knew that the barn was not damaged as a result of the Superstorm Sandy.
The investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor further revealed that the barn had not been damaged by Superstorm Sandy, but had been condemned by the local municipality as being structurally unsafe in February 2012, well prior to the Oct. 29, 2012 storm. Soliman allegedly attempted to recoup the $5,500 cost of hiring a local demolition firm to raze the barn by submitting a fraudulent insurance claim. Pacific Specialty Insurance Company denied the claim and referred the matter to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000.
Deputy Attorney General Thomas G. Tresansky, Jr. and Detectives Kristi L. Procaccino, Megan Flanagan and Terrence Buie were assigned to the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Reid Caster presented the case to the state grand jury. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi thanked Pacific Specialty Insurance Company and the Borough of Red Bank Construction Code Office for their assistance in the investigation.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi urges people who are concerned about insurance cheating relating to Superstorm Sandy and have information about a fraud to report it anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting by 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.