New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that a Middlesex County man has pled guilty to theft charges for fraudulently receiving more than $49,000 in Social Security disability benefits.
According to Vaughn McKoy, Acting Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Gerard M. Zaccardi pled guilty before Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Deborah Venezia to one count of theft by deception (3rd degree) and one count of unsworn falsification to authorities (4th degree). A crime of the third degree carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. A fourth degree crime carries a maximum penalty of up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Zaccardi also faces civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act. Zaccardi is scheduled to appear before Judge Venezia on June 23, 2003 to be sentenced.
The charges were obtained by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor in a State Grand Jury indictment returned on March 8, 2002. At the guilty plea hearing, Zaccardi reportedly admitted that between Sept., 1997 and June, 2001, to fraudulently misleading the Social Security Administration (SSA) into paying disability benefits to which he was not entitled.
The Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor investigation determined that Zaccardi filed a “Social Security Administration Report of Continuing Disability” which contained false information regarding his ability to return to work and which failed to advise the SSA that he was working at an automobile repair shop while receiving disability benefits following a 1988 work place injury.
Pursuant to SSA regulations, Zaccardi was required to notify the SSA when his physical condition improved and he was able to return to work, at which time any disability benefits would terminate. Although Zaccardi returned to work at an automobile repair shop, he reportedly never notified the SSA.
The extent of the fraud to the Social Security Administration resulted in an overpayment of more than $49,200 in disability benefits.
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