N.J. Office of Fraud Prosecutor Most Wanted Fugitive Arrested in Fla.

March 7, 2003

New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has secured the arrest of Iris Salkauski – listed as one of the Division of Criminal Justice’s “Most Wanted” fugitives – in Florida.

The arrest , based on a New Jersey fugitive warrant and outstanding criminal charges, was accomplished by the U.S. Marshal’s Orlando Field Office and the Kissimmee Police Department.

Harvey said that Salkauski was arrested inside a residence in Kissimmee, Osceloa County, Fla. Arresting officers located Salkauski hiding in a bedroom closet. The arrest was made without incident. Salkauski has been lodged in the Osceloa County Jail without bail pending extradition proceedings.

According to Vaughn McKoy, First Deputy Director, Division of Criminal Justice, a State Grand Jury returned 10 separate indictments on Jan. 13 charging 48 persons with conspiracy, theft by deception and attempted theft by deception.

Salkauski was identified in the indictment as the alleged leader of the conspiracy and the coordinator of at least 10 “staged” accidents. The indictment also charged that Salkauski orchestrated the “staged” accidents; recruited the participants or “victims” for each of the “staged” accidents; paid the “victims” for their participation in the “staged” accidents; and directed the “injured victims” on how and where to obtain medical care and legal services. Salkauski was charged with conspiracy (2nd degree) and attempted theft by deception (2nd degree).

The indictments alleged that the 47 defendants participated in the “staged” automobile accidents over a two and one-half year period from Dec. 9, 1996 through May 27, 1998 in the Camden County area – most frequently in Camden and Pennsauken. The 47 alleged “participants” have been charged with conspiracy (3rd degree), theft by deception (3rd degree), or attempted theft by deception (3rd degree).

The Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor investigation determined that the defendants would allegedly “stage” fake automobile accidents by purposely crashing cars into one another or into fixed objects. The motor vehicle accidents would be reported to area police departments, after which the “victims” would seek and obtain treatment for purported injures sustained as a result of the “staged” accidents. Ultimately, fraudulent PIP claims were filed with both the Allstate Insurance Company and the Keystone Insurance Company for payment or reimbursement of medical expenses and “pain and suffering”costs.

As a result of the “staged” accident scheme, the Allstate Insurance Company received personal injury protection (PIP) claims totaling $567,940.

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