Former N.J. Agent Pleads Guilty to $600,000 Theft

September 3, 2003

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that a former Morris County insurance agent has pleaded guilty to reportedly stealing more than $600,000 from the annuity accounts of seven clients who had entrusted the agent to properly invest the funds for retirement and other long-term goals.

According to Vaughn McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Joseph Binczak, 39, formerly of Morris County and currently residing in Jacksonville, Florida, pled guilty to a charge of second degree theft by deception before Morris County Superior Court Judge Salem Vincent Ahto. Binczak is scheduled to appear before Judge Ahto on Oct. 17 for sentencing.

“The Division of Criminal Justice continues to target insurance fraud and other financial crimes that result in innocent investors losing investment funds that should have been secure and available for their future use,” Criminal Justice Director McKoy said. “Unscrupulous individuals in the insurance or financial industry who endeavor to win the trust of investors only to steal their money and their dream of financial security will be investigated, arrested and prosecuted.”

Gooden Brown note that Binczak, a formerly licensed New Jersey insurance agent, was charged by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor via a State Grand Jury indictment returned on Nov. 8, 2002. The indictment charged Binczak with theft by deception and falsifying records. Binczak was employed from September, 1992 until October, 2000, by the Ukranian National Association (UNA), a non-profit fraternal association located in Parsippany, Morris County. As UNA’s sales manager, Binczak was responsible for maintaining life insurance annuity accounts for UNA members.

At the guilty plea hearing, Binczak reportedly admitted that between Nov. 1, 1996 and Nov. 14, 2000, to withdrawing more than $600,000 from the annuity accounts of seven UNA members and depositing the funds in his own bank accounts for his own personal use.

“A person who holds a New Jersey insurance agent license must be held to a very high standard of conduct,” said Brown. “This theft represents a betrayal of that trust and confidence to clients and investors.”

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