N.J. Woman Grounded in Auto Fraud Probe

May 17, 2004

New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn McKoy announced that the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has obtained an indictment charging a Mercer County woman with theft, tampering with public records and false swearing for her role in an automobile “give up” fraud.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Katrina Johnson, 24, of Trenton, Mercer County, was charged via a Mercer County Grand Jury indictment with one count each of theft by deception and tampering with public records or information (both 3rd degree), as well as false swearing (4th degree). If convicted of all charges, Johnson faces up to 111/2 years in state prison and a fine of up to $40,000. Johnson also faces the possibility of the imposition of civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act.

The indictment alleges that between March 23 and April 30, 2003, Johnson reported to the Trenton Police Department that her 1999 Ford Expedition was stolen while parked outside of a Laundromat on East State Street, Trenton. Later, she also allegedly reported to New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company that her car was stolen at 5:30 p.m. on March 23, 2003 from East State Street.

However, an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor revealed the car had been parked in a parking garage located at 29th Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan, New York City, since earlier in the day on March 23, 2003. This allegedly cast doubt on Johnson’s claim that her Ford Expedition had been stolen.

New Jersey Manufacturers paid $21,324 for the purportedly stolen auto insurance claim before reporting the matter to the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.

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