N.J. Man Pleads Guilty to Submitting More Than $400,000 in Phony Claims

September 16, 2003

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that an Essex County resident has pleaded guilty to insurance fraud-related charges for attempting to steal more than $407,000 in death benefits as part of a reported scheme to receive payment for the tragic deaths of his wife and son.

According to Vaughn McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Daouda Traore, 30, of E. Orange, pled guilty before Essex County Superior Court Judge Harold W. Fullilove to a criminal Accusation which charged him with one count of attempted theft by deception (2nd degree). A second degree crime carries a sentence of up to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Traore may also face civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the civil Insurance Fraud Prevention Act. Traore is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 31.

Gooden Brown noted that in pleading guilty, Traore admitted that his purported “wife” and “son” were fictitious and that his claim that they had been tragically killed in an automobile accident in Africa were completely false. In support of the fraudulent claims, Traore reportedly submitted phony hospital records, death certificate forms, and police reports which purported to substantiate the automobile accident and the deaths of his “wife” and “son”.

The Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor’s investigation determined that between Dec. 15, 2000 and Dec. 5, 2001, Traore reportedly purchased or increased the accidental death benefits for two life insurance policies issued by the AIG Life Insurance Company and the United Omaha Life Insurance Company. In pleading guilty, Traore admitted that he amended the AIG life insurance policy to include an additional death benefit of $125,000 for his “wife” Salimata Traore. Traore also amended the AIG policy to include additional death benefits of $50,000 for Abdoulaye Traore, who he claimed was his son.

Traore also admitted to purchasing a separate $200,000 accidental death insurance policy from the United of Omaha Life Insurance Company on the life of Salimata Traore and a $20,000 policy on the life of Abdoulaye Traore. Finally, Traore admitted to purchasing yet an additional $12,000 life insurance policy for Abdoulaye.

As a result of the investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, Traore was arrested on Dec. 5, 2001 by State Investigators. Traore has remained in jail since that date.

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