New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that two Union County insurance agents have been charged by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor with collecting thousands of dollars in premium monies from insurance purchasers and, in some cases, issuing phony automobile insurance identification cards to cover the alleged wrongdoing, as part of a scheme which resulted in insurance buyers having no insurance coverage.
According to Vaughn McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, a State Grand Jury indictment charged Stanley Span, 71, of Fort Lee and Paul Kaplan, 49, of Union, with various insurance fraud-related crimes.
Span was charged with conspiracy (3rd degree), two counts of theft by deception (3rd degree), theft by failure to make required disposition of property received (3rd degree) and simulating a motor vehicle insurance identification card (3rd degree). Kaplan was charged with conspiracy (3rd degree), theft by deception (3rd degree), two counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of property received (3rd degree) and bad checks (3rd degree). A third degree crime carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The investigation will be referred to the Department of Banking and Insurance for action with respect to their insurance agent’s licenses.
According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Brown, the investigation determined that Span and Kaplan are licensed insurance agents and were officers of the now defunct Span Associates Insurance Agency located in Springfield, County.
The indictment alleges that between January, 2000 and December, 2001, the defendants stole approximately $20,000 by selling fictitious insurance policies to insurance purchasers. The indictment charges that the defendants collected insurance premium monies from purchasers, failed to remit the monies to the insurance companies, and gave the purchasers phony insurance identification cards. As a result of the alleged actions by the defendants, insurance carriers never received applications or premium monies and no policies were issued, thus jeopardizing the health and safety of the buyers who believed they had obtained insurance coverage as required by law.
It is also alleged that from February through May, 2002, Span distributed phony automobile insurance identification cards purportedly issued by the New Jersey Personal Automobile Insurance Plan (NJPAIP) in order to convince the insurance purchasers that they had valid insurance coverage and to conceal the alleged criminal activity. Finally, the indictment charges that in November, 2000, Kaplan deposited a $4,000 check drawn on a closed account knowing that the bank would not honor the check and then withdrew $4,000 in cash before the check was dishonored.
The indictment was handed up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg, the Assignment Judge in charge of the State Grand Jury, on July 17. The case will be assigned to Union County for trial. Span and Kaplan will be ordered to appear for arraignment and bail.
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