N.J. Resident Sentenced for Staging Auto Accident to Collect More Than $9,000

October 10, 2003

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that an Essex County man was sentenced for his reported role in staging automobile accidents in order to fraudulently obtain more than $9,000 of insurance claim monies.

According to Vaughn McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice, and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Ricardo Ventura, 24, of Newark, was sentenced to 180 days in the County jail with three years probation, and ordered to pay a $500 criminal fine.

Ventura was sentenced pursuant to his guilty plea to a Union County indictment returned on April 9, 2003, which charged him with theft by deception (3rd degree). Also charged in the Union County indictment were Rui Salgado, 24, of Newark, Joseph Caponegro, 23, of Newark and Anthony Padovano, 24, of Harrison.

Following a three day jury trial, on Sept. 11, 2003, Caponegro and Padovano were acquitted of the charges.

At his guilty plea hearing on June 20, 2003 before Union County Superior Court Judge John S. Triarsi, Ventura reportedly admitted that the accident reported to have happened on Oct. 22, 1999 was staged.

The scheme reportedly provided that Padovano, while driving a 1998 Toyota, intentionally collided with a 1998 Ducati motorcycle and a 1999 Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle which were parked in front of Caponegro’s house.

Elco Administrative Services Insurance and the Prudential Insurance Company paid a total of $9,854 for the accident claim.

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