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 Passaic County man with conspiracy, attempted theft by deception and insurance fraud for his role in an automobile insurance “give up” fraud.
According to McKoy and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Juan Feliz-Pena, 58, of Passaic, Passaic County, was charged with conspiracy, attempted theft by deception and insurance fraud (all 3rd degree). If convicted of all charges, Feliz-Pena faces up to 15 years in state prison and a fine of up to $45,000.
In addition, Feliz-Pena faces the possibility of the imposition of civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act. The defendants will be ordered to appear in Passaic County Superior Court for arraignment and bail at a date yet to be determined.
The Passaic County Grand Jury indictment, returned on Jan. 21, alleges that between Oct. 7 and Nov. 20, 2003, Feliz-Pena and Amalia Vanlaparra, 54, of Bronx, N.Y., took part in an automobile “give up” scam”. A “give up” is when the owner of a car voluntarily transfers the car to another person so that the car can be hidden, resold with a different Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), or chopped for parts so that the owner can claim it was stolen and submit a false automobile insurance theft claim.
An investigation by the Division of Criminal determined that Feliz-Pena and Vanlaparra paid $500 to several people – one of whom was an undercover State Investigator assigned to the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor – to take Valaparra’s leased Toyota RAV4 so she could submit a phony automobile insurance theft claim.
According to the indictment, Vanlaparra submitted a phony auto theft police report to the New York Police Department. Following this submission, a false theft claim worth $19,000 was allegedly submitted to Geico Insurance Company for the RAV4.
On Aug. 12, 2004, Vanlaparra pled guilty to an Accusation charging her with insurance fraud (3rd degree) before Passaic County Superior Court Judge Marilyn C. Clark.
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