N.J. Agent Pleads Guilty to Stealing Nearly $100,000 in Premium Money

February 1, 2006

New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy reported that a Cumberland County insurance agent has pleaded guilty to theft for stealing nearly $100,000 in insurance premium money from insurance customers.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Stacey Bates, 33, of Millville, Cumberland County, pleaded guilty before Cumberland County Superior Court Judge John Waters, Jr. to a criminal Accusation filed by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor. The Accusation charged Bates with theft by failure to make required disposition of property received (2nd degree). When sentenced on March 10, Bates faces up to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Bates will also be required to forfeit her license to sell insurance.

At the guilty plea hearing, Bates, the owner/operator of Stacey Bates General Insurance Agency located at 319 North High Street in Millville, reportedly admitted that she accepted insurance premiums from insurance customers, primarily for automobile insurance, and did not remit the insurance premium money to the appropriate insurance carrier so that the insurance customers had valid insurance.

An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor reportedly determined that Bates took the insurance premium money from more than 100 insurance customers, valued at more than $99,000 and spent it for her own purposes.

Brown asked that if anyone suspects they have been defrauded by Bates and have not reported it to law enforcement, contact State Investigator Robert Stemmer at (609) 896-8931.

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