N.J. Woman Charged $10,000 for Insurance Fraud

March 8, 2004

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has charged an Essex County woman with theft and falsifying public records for allegedly filing a false stolen vehicle insurance claim.

According to Vaughn McKoy, director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Sakinah Banks, 32, of Essex County, was charged via an Essex County Grand Jury indictment with theft by deception, tampering with public records or information, and falsifying records. If convicted on all charges, Banks faces up to 11 ½ years in state prison and a fine of up to $40,000. In addition, Banks faces possible civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act.

Gooden Brown said the indictment alleges that on April 14, 2001, Banks filed a false police report with the Newark Police Department that her 1996 Honda Accord had been stolen from outside her home. Banks also reported the alleged theft to Clarendon National Insurance Company. As a result of the claim, Clarendon paid Auto One Acceptance Corp. (the lien holder) $10,157 for the loss of the vehicle and Banks $816 for property purportedly lost in the car.

An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor revealed that on Nov. 4, 2001, Banks was stopped by a Readington Twp., Hunterdon County, police officer for a motor vehicle violation.

Banks was driving the “stolen” Honda Accord at the time of the motor vehicle stop. The police officer determined that the vehicle had been reported stolen and noted that the car did not appear to have been tampered with and that Banks was using a key. Further inspection showed that the car’s security system was operational.

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