Attorney General Zulima Farber reported that a suspended Camden County, New Jersey Probation Officer has been convicted in Gloucester County Superior Court on charges of swindling the New Jersey State Health Benefits Plan (SHBP) out of more than $23,000 by misrepresenting his marital status and falsely claiming a girlfriend as a spouse.
According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Lionel Maldonado, 41, of Clayton, Gloucester County, was convicted of theft by deception following an eight-day jury trial before Gloucester County Superior Court Judge Walter Marshall, Jr. Maldonado, scheduled to appear before Judge Marshall on March 24 for sentencing, faces up to five years in state prison, a fine of up to $15,000, and restitution.
Brown noted that Maldonado was charged via a State Grand Jury indictment returned on June 6, 2005. The indictment charged Maldonado and his former girlfriend, Marisol Perez, 33, of Glassboro, Gloucester County, with falsifying records and theft from the SHBP. Perez is scheduled to stand trial before Judge Marshall on Feb. 27.
The Gloucester County jury reportedly found that between 1990 and 2000, Maldonado bilked the SHBP out of more than $23,000 while employed as a Public Health Investigator for the Camden County Department of Health and more recently as a Camden County Probation Officer. The jury determined that Maldonado falsified the SHBP group enrollment application by fraudulently enrolling Perez as his “wife.” As a legal dependant wife, Marisol Maldonado would have been entitled to health care benefits provided to Lionel Maldonado.
The jury also found that Maldonado continued to fraudulently use the benefits provided by the SHBP after appointment to the position of Camden County Probation Officer in 1992. Maldonado continued to perpetuate the fraud against the state and county health benefits plans until April, 2000, when Maldonado deleted Perez from all insurance coverage on the grounds that they had separated.
In September of 2001, Maldonado reported that he was widowed. Investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Maldonado and Perez were never legally married and, consequently, Marisol Perez was not entitled to insurance coverage as Maldonado’s purported spouse.
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