|TRENTON - Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced a Monmouth County woman has pleaded guilty to insurance fraud for defrauding the state out of more than $8,800 by submitting a claim containing fraudulent information to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development in order to collect state temporary disability insurance monies to which she was not entitled.
Jennifer Massimo Ruiz, 31, of Belmar, pleaded guilty yesterday (Sept. 9) to third-degree insurance fraud before Superior Court Judge Robert J. Mega in Union County. The charge was contained in a July 25 state grand jury indictment.
Judge Mega scheduled sentencing for Feb. 7, 2014. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Ruiz be sentenced to three years in state prison.
In pleading guilty, Ruiz admitted that on or about April 19, 2010, she submitted a claim form to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development containing fraudulent information. As a result of the fraud, Ruiz received $8,819 in disability insurance benefits to which she was not entitled.
New Jersey`s temporary disability law requires that a person be employed in the past year in order to be eligible for temporary disability benefits. An investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Ruiz had not been employed during the 52 weeks prior to submitting her application for temporary disability benefits. The investigation revealed that Ruiz falsely stated that she was employed as an office manager from 2008 to 2010 and was therefore eligible for temporary disability insurance benefits when she went out on maternity leave, starting in March 2010. The company for which Ruiz purported to be working was owned by her family members.
Deputy Attorney General James Carey and Detectives Matthew Armstrong and Christine Sullivan coordinated the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Carey represented the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the guilty plea hearing. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi thanked the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for referring the matter to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.