N.J. Insurance Adjuster Charged in ‘Shake-Down’

March 17, 2004

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that a Middlesex County insurance claims adjuster has been charged by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor with using his position to “con” unsuspecting insurance claimants into turning over a percentage of settlement monies in exchange for “specialized” service.

According to Vaughn McKoy, director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Oscar Medina, 35, of New Brunswick, Middlesex County, was charged via a State Grand Jury indictment with theft by deception and commercial bribery. If convicted on both third degree charges, Medina faces up to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $30,000. Additionally, Medina faces the possibility of civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act.

Gooden Brown said the State Grand Jury indictment charges Medina, a former claims adjuster employed at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company’s Somerset office, with devising a scheme wherein he would tell insurance claimants involved in automobile accidents that they would be able to retain a larger percentage of settlement monies by paying him (Medina) a 15 percent cash fee.

Specifically, the two-count indictment alleges that Medina told a Liberty Mutual claimant who had been involved in an automobile accident in New Brunswick on July 12, 2002, that he (the claimant) would obtain a larger settlement by paying him (Medina) 15 percent of the $48,000 settlement. Additionally, the indictment charged that Medina accepted a $5,700 bribe from the claimant to “expedite” the adjustment and settling of the accident claim.

Medina was arrested on March 6, 2003 in New Brunswick by State Investigators from the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and the New Brunswick Police Department. Medina was held on $50,000 bail set by Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Fred DeVesa.

The Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor is continuing the investigation to determine if Medina targeted other insurance claimants who are not aware that they may have been cheated out of insurance settlement monies.

The Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor is encouraging anyone in the Middlesex, Somerset and Essex county areas who had contact with Medina as a field claims adjuster to call the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD or to log-on to the insurance fraud web site at www.njinsurancefraud.org. All information remains confidential.

The indictment was handed up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg, the Assignment Judge in charge of the State Grand Jury on March 9. The case has been assigned to the Middlesex County Superior Court for trial. Medina will be ordered to appear for arraignment.

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