New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that the president of a New York City-based jewelry company has been ordered to pay a civil insurance fraud fine and to perform community service for his reported role in concocting an insurance fraud scheme designed to steal nearly one million dollars from a New Jersey insurance company.
According to Vaughn McKoy, director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Solomon Bouzaglou, 38, of Valley Stream, New York, was ordered by Essex County Superior Court Judge Harold Fullilove to pay a $5,000 civil insurance fraud fine, complete 150 hours of community service, and serve five years probation for his role in attempting to steal nearly one million dollars as part of a fraudulent insurance fraud scam. The sentence was handed down on Feb. 6 by Judge Fullilove.
Gooden Brown noted that Bouzaglou, the president of Exquisite Gems, Inc., located in Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty to a criminal Accusation filed by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor which charged conspiracy and attempted theft by deception. On Jan. 16, Joseph Benlolo, 45, Steven Marc Lane, New Hyde Park, New York, a reported co-conspirator involved in the scam, was sentenced by Judge Fullilove to five years probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 civil insurance fraud fine for his role in the scheme. The investigation of the fraudulent insurance claim is continuing and additional criminal charges and civil insurance fraud penalties are anticipated.
Gooden Brown said that Bouzaglou and Benlolo pleaded guilty before Judge Fullilove on March 12, 2003 to charges of conspiracy and attempted theft by deception. In pleading guilty, the defendants reportedly admitted that between September, 1997 and May, 1998, they concocted a scheme to intentionally cause water damage to costume jewelry stored in a warehouse located at 345 Nye Avenue in Irvington, Essex County. The jewelry was insured by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company for $1 million. The defendants admitted submitting a fraudulent $973,638 insurance claim to Fireman’s Fund knowing that the jewelry had been intentionally damaged.
Fireman’s Fund, suspecting the claim was fraudulent, denied the claim and referred the case to the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor for investigation.
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