|TRENTON - Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) announced today that two Camden County sisters have been charged with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud for allegedly lying about which one of them was the driver in an auto crash in an effort to support false claims submitted to an insurance carrier.
Labre Hodge, 25, of Pine Hill, and Brittney Hodge, 26, of Pennsauken, were each charged with second-degree conspiracy in an indictment handed up by a state grand jury in Superior Court in Trenton on Tuesday. Labre Hodge was also charged with second-degree insurance fraud and third-degree attempted theft by deception.
According to the indictment, Brittany Hodge was driving her sister’s Chevrolet Aveo in Camden in March 2015 when it was struck by another vehicle that ran a stop sign. Hodge, who had been alone in the car, called her sister Labre minutes after the accident, and Labre Hodge arrived at the scene almost an hour after the crash, according to prosecutors. Both women later gave several false statements to Labre Hodge’s insurance carrier GEICO, asserting that Labre was the driver and Brittany a passenger when the crash occurred, according the indictment. Labre Hodge also filed a false claim with GEICO seeking $5,000 for medical bills and $950 in lost wages in connection with injuries she sustained in the crash, according to prosecutors.
“We allege that these two defendants attempted to dupe GEICO into believing that Labre Hodge was the driver in the crash so that she could make her bogus claim for an injury she did not sustain in the collision,” said Attorney General Porrino. “These young women are now facing serious consequences for their actions.”
“Many people erroneously assume that fabricating a scenario to net them a relatively small insurance payout will not get them into trouble, but nothing could be further from the truth,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu. “Whether you file a claim for $100 dollars or $100,000, insurance fraud is a felony and we will prosecute anyone caught trying to enrich themselves by lying to their insurance provider.”
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000; third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000.
Deputy Attorney General Michael Clore presented the case to the grand jury. Detectives Justin Callahan, Ron Allen, Little Wright, and Investigator Marwa Kashef coordinated the investigation.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Iu noted that some 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, or visiting 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.
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