New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn McKoy announced that the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has obtained a State Grand Jury indictment charging a former Essex County insurance company employee and two of her family members conspiring to steal more than $44,500 in insurance monies to which they were not entitled.
According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Sharonda Ross, 34, whose last known address was Roselle, Union County, was charged with conspiracy and theft by deception (both 3rd degree). Ross’s husband, Ivery Ross, 37, whose last known address was Roselle, Union County, was charged with conspiracy, theft by deception and theft of identity (all 3rd degree). Ivery Ross’s cousin, Michelle Patterson, 44, of East Orange, was charged with conspiracy (3rd degree) and theft by deception (4th degree). Under State law, crimes of the third degree carry a maximum punishment of 5 years State prison and a criminal fine of $15,000, while crimes of the fourth degree carry a maximum punishment of 18 months in State prison and a criminal fine of $10,000.
The defendants also face 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 Essex County Superior Court for a bail and arraignment hearing on a date yet to be set by the Court.
The June 10 indictment alleges that between Oct. 8, 2002 and April 16, 2003, Sharonda Ross, who was then employed as a Treasury Operations Associate for Prudential Insurance Company, in Newark, Essex County, diverted at least 18 insurance company checks worth more than $44,500 to Ivery Ross and Patterson as well as other family members not named in the indictment. Sharonda Ross allegedly used the identification codes of other Prudential employees to issue the checks.
The investigation further revealed that Ivery Ross obtained identification from his cousin and subsequently opened a checking account at Spencer’s Savings Bank in Roselle, all without the cousin’s knowledge or consent. Ivery Ross subsequently deposited checks made out by Sharonda Ross to his cousin into the fraudulent bank account.
An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined of the two checks Patterson was given, she cashed one and the other was deposited into the Ross’s joint checking account.
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