N.J. Woman’s Plans Go Up in Smoke

June 3, 2004

New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn McKoy announced that a Camden County woman has pleaded guilty to setting fire to her automobile, falsely reporting the car stolen, and fraudulently collecting more than $13,000 from the insurance policy.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Maria M. Alicea, 25, of Camden County, pleaded guilty before Camden County Superior Court Judge William Cook to a criminal Accusation filed by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.

The Accusation charged Alicea with arson of property for purpose of collecting insurance proceeds, theft by deception, and tampering with public records or information (3rd degree). When sentenced on July 30, Alicea faces up to 15 years in state prison and a fine of up to $60,000.

At the guilty plea hearing, Alicea reportedly admitted that on Dec. 28, 2002, she, along with other persons who are not identified in the Accusation and remain under investigation, set fire to her 2001 Mitsubishi Galant. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice -Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Alicea falsely reported the car stolen to the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and submitted an automobile insurance theft claim in the amount of $13,209.

Liberty Mutual paid Alicea’s car loan balance to Household Finance Company as a result of the claim. A subsequent investigation determined the stolen vehicle report to be false.

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