Wednesday, February 25, 2009

N.J. Man Pleads Guilty; Stole PIP Benefits

New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram and Criminal Justice Director Deborah Gramiccioni announced that a Camden County man has pleaded guilty to insurance fraud for attempting to steal more than $68,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Vito Manzella, 24, whose last known address was in Lindenwold, pleaded guilty before Superior Court Judge Christine Allen-Jackson in Gloucester County to third-degree insurance fraud, a charge contained in a February 2008 indictment. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend a sentence of 180 days in the county jail as a condition of two years probation. Manzella also must pay restitution in the amount of $3,241 to New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company for the cost of investigating the fraudulent claims. Judge Allen-Jackson scheduled sentencing for April 24.

In pleading guilty, Manzella admitted that between March 28 and May 2, 2005, he committed insurance fraud by fraudulently submitting claims for $68,819 in PIP benefits to New Jersey Indemnity Insurance Company.

Manzella admitted that following an automobile accident in Berlin Borough, he falsified an affidavit stating that he lived in Mullica Hill at the time of the accident with a family member who had automobile insurance. Manzella admitted that, in fact, he did not live in Mullica Hill at the time. He lived in Camden County with a family member who did not have automobile insurance.

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