N.J. Siblings Indicted for Auto Insurance Claims Fraud

By Young Ha | January 27, 2012

Authorities in New Jersey announced last week that a Union City woman and her Jersey City brother were indicted for their alleged roles in a scheme to submit false auto insurance claims.

According to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi, Libia Mendoza, 37, and her brother, Leonel Mendoza, 39, were charged with second-degree conspiracy, second-degree insurance fraud, third-degree tampering with public records, and third-degree attempted theft by deception.

The state grand jury indictment alleges that between May 12, 2010, and Sept. 25, 2011, Leonel Mendoza fraudulently reported an alleged hit-and-run accident, via telephone, to MetLife Auto and Home Insurance Company. Leonel Mendoza allegedly reported the accident on behalf of his sister, Libia Mendoza, the insured, and alleged claimed that a phantom vehicle caused damage to Libia’s 2005, BMW X5.

It is also alleged that Leonel, on behalf of Libia, completed and submitted a false New Jersey motor vehicle accident report to the Jersey City Police alleging the hit and run accident.

An investigation determined that Libia Mendoza allegedly submitted the false motor vehicle accident report to MetLife for her insurance claim for $10,095 in benefits. MetLife denied the claim and referred the matter to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.

The indictment also alleges that Libia and Leonel Mendoza provided a MetLife representative with a false voluntary recorded statement detailing the alleged hit-and-run accident that purportedly caused damage to Libia’s 2005 BMW X5.

If convicted of their second-degree charges, they could spend up to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of $150,000, while third-degree crime convictions carry a punishment of up to five years in state prison and a criminal fine of $15,000. The authorities note that the indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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