N.J. Man Charged with $13,500 Insurance Fraud

January 16, 2004

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has charged a Cape May County man with attempting to claim more than $13,500 in insurance money by falsely reporting that his truck was stolen.

According to Vaughn McKoy, director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Thomas Bright, 54, of Cape May County, was charged via a Cape May County Grand Jury indictment with theft by deception (3rd degree), tampering with public records or information (3rd degree) and falsifying records (4th degree). If convicted of all charges, Bright faces up to 11 1/2 years in state prison and a fine of up to $40,000.

Additionally, Bright faces possible civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act. Bright will be ordered to appear in Cape May County Superior Court for arraignment and bail on a date to be set by the court.

Gooden Brown noted that the indictment alleges that on April 21, 2001, Bright reported his 1995 Nissan Pathfinder stolen to the Lower Township Police Department. Bright subsequently submitted a false automobile theft claim in the amount of $13,465 to the Colonial Penn Insurance Company.

The indictment alleges that Bright filed the false claim in order to collect insurance money to pay the outstanding loan payments due to Mercury Financial – the finance company that held title to the vehicle. The investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor revealed that the Philadelphia Police Department had located the truck abandoned in Philadelphia prior to April 21.

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