N.J. Foursome Parked in Auto Scam

July 7, 2005

New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn McKoy announced that four North Jersey residents have been ordered to pay thousands of dollars in restitution and criminal fines for participating in a scheme to stage fake automobile accidents and to obtain more than $31,000 in phony insurance claims.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Gladys Roman, 38, of Carlstadt, Bergen County; Manuel Hernandez, 33, of Paterson, Passaic County; Yaneris Diaz, 37, of Paterson, Passaic County; and Hernando Nhar, 36, of Paterson, Passaic County, were ordered by Passaic County Superior Court Judge Randolph Subryan to each pay a $2,500 civil insurance fraud fine and to serve a two years probation. Additionally, the defendants were ordered to pay restitution totaling $17,561.00.

The defendants, charged via a State Grand Jury indictment returned on Dec. 13, 2004, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit Health Care Claims Fraud and theft by deception on April 11, 2005. In pleading guilty, the defendants reportedly admitted that between Oct. 13, 1998 and Dec. 13, 1999, to participating in a “staged” motor vehicle accident in which a car occupied by Quiroz Mazo, Nhar, and Erik Bula, 34, of Paterson, was struck in the rear by a vehicle occupied by Roman, Hernandez, and Diaz.

An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that the accident was staged. Roman, Hernandez, Diaz, Quiroz Mazo and Nhar submitted phony Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claims and bodily injury claims to Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and to ELCO Administrative Service for payment for “pain and suffering” sustained as result of the purported accident.

Additionally, Roman, Hernandez, Diaz, Quiroz Mazo, and Nhar sought medical treatment for injuries sustained in the purported accident. More than $31,000 in PIP and bodily injury claims were paid to the defendants as a result of the fraudulent claims.

A fifth defendant, Claudia Quiroz Mazo, 28, of Elmwood Park, Bergen County, pleaded guilty on May 9 to theft by deception. Quiroz Mazo’s sentencing is scheduled for July 22 before Judge Subryan. On July 21, 2004, Bula pleaded guilty to a criminal Accusation before Passaic County Superior Court Judge Marilyn Clark to Health Care Claims Fraud and theft by deception. Bula reportedly admitted the accident was staged. Bula was sentenced on March 11 to two years probation, ordered to pay $5,437 in restitution, and to pay a $5,000 civil insurance fraud fine.

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