TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Warren County woman was indicted today for allegedly stealing more than $12,000 by falsifying information that she provided to her insurance company regarding a motor vehicle accident.
Catherine Maclean, 59, of Blairstown, was charged with second-degree insurance fraud, third-degree theft by deception, and fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records.
The state grand jury indictment alleges that between March 28 and Aug. 26, 2013, Maclean stole $12,191 by created the false impression to Plymouth Rock Assurance that a 2004 Dodge Ram was covered by her insurance policy when it was in an accident on March 28. An investigation determined that Maclean’s automobile insurance policy had lapsed the previous month. On March 29, the day after the accident, Maclean allegedly contacted her insurance agent so that the agent could reinstate her policy, but failed to tell the agent about the accident. The policy was reinstated, but was not retroactive. It is alleged that, over the course of the next few months, in subsequent correspondence and phone conversations with representatives at Plymouth Rock Assurance, Maclean created the false impression that the accident occurred on March 30, 2013, and was covered by insurance at the time of the accident, when in fact the accident occurred while the coverage had lapsed. Lastly, the indictment alleges that on April 9, 2013, Maclean submitted a letter and a falsified copy of the police accident report to Plymouth Rock Assurance.
Deputy Attorney General Colin Keiffer, Detective Terrence Buie and Sgt. Jarek Pyrazanowski coordinated the investigation. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi thanked Plymouth Rock Assurance 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. Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of ten 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. Fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $10,000.