N.J. Man Sentenced for Auto Fraud Theft Scheme

August 26, 2003

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that the reported architect of a large scale, multiple defendant conspiracy to defraud two insurance companies out of more than $600,000 has been sentenced to five years in state prison for his role in devising and implementing the scheme.

According to Vaughn McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Carl Prata, 41, of Essex County, was sentenced to five years in state prison and ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution to the Allmerica Insurance Company ($45,000) and the St. Paul Insurance Company ($5,000). Prata was a former employee with the Allmerica Insurance Company and the St. Paul Insurance Company.

Brown noted that Prata pled guilty to charges contained in a State Grand Jury indictment returned on Dec. 18, 2002. The indictment charged Prata with conspiracy and theft by deception. At the April 28, 2003, guilty plea hearing before Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Frederick DeVesa, Prata reportedly admitted that he concocted the scheme to access and manipulate insurance company computer systems to process and issue fraudulent claim checks to persons who were not entitled to them.

The Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor’s investigation determined that over a three-year period from January, 1998 through November, 2000, Prata reportedly created fraudulent computer files listing 45 individuals as having been involved in non-existent automobile accidents. As a result of the manipulation of the insurance company files and the submission of fraudulent claim information, the computer systems processed and issued more than 50 fraudulent auto insurance claim checks which resulted in a payout in excess of $600,000.

“Prata was the ring-leader of a significant automobile insurance fraud conspiracy involving 45 individuals claiming more than $600,000 in non-existent claims,” said Brown. “The two insurance companies, their policy holders and all New Jerseyans are the victims of these type of illegitimate insurance fraud schemes.”

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