N.J. Resident Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding 9/11 Victim Comp Fund

March 1, 2006

A former truck driver, who authorites report falsely claimed to have been injured and permanently disabled in the terror attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, was sentenced recently to 30 months in federal prison for making fraudulent personal-injury claims to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie and U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Glenn Fine announced.

U.S. District Judge Mary Cooper also ordered Robert Newbury, 45, of Somerset, to serve two years of supervised release upon completion of his prison sentence.

Before sentencing Newbury, Judge Cooper found the defendant competent to participate in court proceedings. On the eve of his original sentencing date, May 15, 2005, Newbury suffered an apparent collapse and was hospitalized for tests. After being treated and released, Newbury reported suffering memory loss and claimed he could not remember a number of past events, including any of the events surrounding his offense.

Judge Cooper ordered Newbury to undergo an extensive neuropsychological evaluation by an independent, court-appointed psychologist. The psychologist concluded that there was no evidence of physical, mental or neurological disability that would render Newbury incapable of understanding court proceedings or otherwise incompetent to participate in the sentencing.

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) was established by Congress in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks in order to compensate the families of victims who were killed as well as persons injured in the attacks. The Fund was administered by a Special Master in Washington, D.C., and fraudulent claims were investigated by the Justice Department’s Inspector General. The Fund concluded its work on June 15, 2004, having distributed more than $7 billion to more than 5,500 claimants.

Newbury pleaded guilty on Feb. 2, 2005 to a one-count felony Information. In entering his plea, Newbury reportedly admitted that he submitted two false claims to the VCF in early 2002, asserting that he had been making deliveries to the World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, and suffered permanently debilitating injuries.

His first claim was for an advance benefit of $50,000, and his second was for compensation for his injuries, including payment of all his family’s expenses until retirement due to his claimed permanent disability. In total, Newbury intended to receive between $400,000 and $1 million from the VCF. According to prosecutors, because investigators discovered Newbury’s fraud, no payment was made.

Newbury also admitted fabricating employment records, including a delivery schedule for Sept. 11, as well as medical records from doctors he claimed treated his injuries and determined he could no longer work. Newbury admitted sending these documents to the VCF to prove his entitlement to compensation. Newbury admitted that he was making deliveries in southern New Jersey, not in New York City, on Sept. 11, 2001.

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