|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Sussex County man was arraigned in court today on charges that he allegedly attempted to steal thousands of dollars from an elderly relative’s annuity and pretended to be the relative in correspondence with the insurance company.
Jason Crozier, 43, of Franklin, was charged in an April 24 indictment with second-degree insurance fraud, third-degree attempted theft by deception, and fourth-degree identity theft. He was arraigned today by Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Critchley, Jr. in Sussex County. Judge Critchley set bail at $15,000.
The indictment alleges that between April 4 and May 15, 2013, Crozier attempted to steal $5,500 from an elderly relative’s annuity. It is alleged that Crozier contacted Prudential Insurance Company of America on multiple occasions via phone calls and mail and created the false impression to Prudential that he was, in fact, the elderly relative. An investigation determined that Crozier allegedly attempted to impersonate the elderly female relative in his phone calls with Prudential. Crozier allegedly continued the impersonation and provided Prudential with the elderly relative’s personal identifying information, including her social security number, birthdate and annuity contract number. The indictment alleges that Crozier did not have the relative’s permission to act on her behalf. Crozier allegedly submitted paperwork to withdraw $5,500 from the annuity.
Deputy Attorney General T.J. Harker and Detectives Wendy Berg and Matthew Armstrong coordinated the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Harker presented the case to the state grand jury. Deputy Attorney General Dennis Kwasnik represented the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the arraignment. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi thanked Prudential 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 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000. 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.