|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Monmouth County licensed emergency medical technician was indicted today for allegedly stealing funds from patients in Central Jersey.
Felipe Barruos, 25, of Hazlet, was charged in a state grand jury with two counts of third-degree theft by deception and one count of fourth-degree theft by unlawful taking.
Barruos was employed by two private ambulance companies – the first between approximately Feb. 20 and April 30, 2013 and the second between the end of May and the end of July 2013. The indictment alleges that between Feb. 20, and April 30, 2013 and again between May 27 and July 29, 2013, Barruos stole a total of approximately $2,200 from three patients he was tasked with transporting.
An investigation determined that in one instance, Barruos allegedly took a patient to a shopping center on his (Barruos’s) day off and carried her purse throughout the trip. It is alleged that, during the trip, Barruos stole money from the patient. In another instance, Burruos allegedly told a patient he could purchase electronic devises at a discount, obtained money from the patient but never gave any of the merchandise to the patient. In a third instance, Barruos allegedly took hundreds of dollars’ worth of coins from another patient on the pretense that he would get the coins appraised, but never gave them either the coins or any money back to the patient.
Deputy Attorney General Christopher Ruzich and Detective Anthony Iannice coordinated the investigation. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi thanked the New Jersey Office of Emergency Medical Services for referring 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. Third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000 while fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $10,000.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi reiterated the importance of the toll-free hotline to report insurance fraud. He noted that many 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 (1-877-553-7283) or by visiting the Web site at www.njinsurancefraud.org.