N.J. Couple Driven to Auto Accident Settlement Monies Fraud; Managed to Net More Than $25,000

April 7, 2004

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that a former Middlesex County-based insurance company employee and her boyfriend have been charged by the Division of Criminal Justice -Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor with concocting an insurance fraud scheme that netted them more than $25,000 in stolen automobile accident settlement monies. Additional theft charges have been filed against the two defendants by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to Vaughn McKoy, director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Wanda Reeves, 33, of Somerset, Somerset County, and her significant other, Clifford T. Baskerville, 36, also of Somerset, were each charged via a State Grand Jury indictment with conspiracy and theft by deception (third degree). A third degree crime carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000 per count. Additionally, Reeves and Baskerville face possible civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act.

Gooden Brown said the State Grand Jury indictment alleges that Reeves, formerly employed as a claims adjuster/processor at the Robert Plan Corporation located in Edison, Middlesex County, issued eight fraudulent insurance claim checks to either herself or Baskerville (her boyfriend) totaling more than $25,000.

The indictment charges that from July through August, 2002, Reeves processed settlement claims for automobile accidents and, using the information obtained through her position as a claims adjuster, issued fraudulent claim checks to Baskerville and others who were not involved in the accidents. It is charged that six checks were issued directly to Baskerville, while two other checks were issued to third-party payees and deposited into Baskerville’s account. The Robert Plan Corporation owns several insurance companies, including the Eagle Insurance Company, GSA Insurance Company and Newark Insurance Company.

Gooden Brown noted that in November, 2003, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit returned a county grand jury indictment charging both Reeves and Baskerville with theft of approximately $120,000 from the Cambridge Integrated Services Company located in Whippany, Morris County. The county grand jury indictment charged that Reeves, while employed as a claims adjuster at Cambridge, employed a similar scheme to issue fraudulent claims checks to Baskerville. The joint agency investigation remains ongoing.

The State Grand Jury indictment was handed up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Marianne Sypek on April 5. The case has been assigned to the Middlesex County Superior Court for trial. Reeves and Baskerville will be ordered to appear for arraignment and bail on a date to be determined by the Court.

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