|TRENTON – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) today announced that a Middlesex County man has been charged with insurance fraud and theft by deception for allegedly impersonating his deceased mother in order to obtain cheaper renters insurance under her senior-discounted policy, and for falsifying claims for jewelry and other items stolen during Superstorm Sandy.
Nicholas M. Schneiderman, 43, of Carteret, was also charged with impersonation and attempted theft by deception in an indictment handed up by a state grand jury in Trenton on Tuesday.
Schneiderman is accused of pretending to be his deceased mother in a June 2012 phone call to Hartford Insurance Company (Hartford) during which he transferred her AARP-discounted renters insurance from her apartment to his own. Schneiderman allegedly wanted to keep her policy open because of its favorable rates and high limits. During the call he allegedly added his name to the policy as his mother’s “husband.”
“Senior-citizen insurance discounts are meant to provide financial relief to the elderly, not illegally enrich fraudsters who want to avoid paying their fair share for coverage” said Attorney General Porrino. “This defendant is now facing serious charges for his alleged attempt to illegally line his own pockets at the expense of an insurance program intended to help senior citizens.”
“We allege that after fraudulently obtaining insurance coverage, this defendant compounded his crime by filing multiple claims for jewelry and other items he said were stolen from his car when he left his home during Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.”
Schneiderman allegedly collected over $6,000 from Hartford for the stolen items, which included a laptop computer, an 18 karat gold chain, and diamond earrings. He then allegedly filed another claim for the same items with American Banker’s Insurance Company of Florida, which was denied.
“It is unconscionable that a time when insurance companies were busy processing claims to help Sandy victims recover from devastating losses, this defendant was allegedly attempting to steal insurance funds by filing more than one claim for the same loss,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu. “We will not allow the system to be exploited in this way, especially not during a time of natural disaster.”
Schneiderman is charged with two counts of insurance fraud (2nd and 3rd degree), theft by deception (3rd degree). Attempted theft by deception (3rd degree) and impersonation (4th degree).
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is 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; while fourth-degree crimes carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of $10,000. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Deputy Attorney General Patrick Gessner presented the case to the grand jury. Detective Brian Bunn 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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