A Manalapan man faces fraud and theft charges, for allegedly filing thousands of dollars' worth of false claims under the identity of the ophthalmologist who employed him, and taking the checks when they arrived.

Austin B. Mongiello (NJ Atty. General's Office)

The state indictment against Austin B. Mongiello, 27, includes second-degree health care claims fraud, third-degree theft by deception and unlawful taking, and fourth-degree forgery, according to the office of New Jersey Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino.

Conviction for the second-degree charge would leave Mongiello at risk of a five-to-ten year prison term and fines up to $150,000.

The two third-degree counts carry possible three-to-five-year sentences and fines up to $15,000.

The fourth-degree charge is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and maximum $5,000 in fines.

Investigators assert that between September 2012 and March 2013, Mongiello filed bogus claims totalling $4,155 to vision-care insuror VSP, under the guise of the ophthalmologist in Belleville

VSP issued checks in the amount of $1,456, of which Mongiello allegedly palmed $842 worth, investigators said.

They also claim that he took checks worth $687.28, also payable to the doctor, issued by insuror Davis Vision, IPA.

The indictment constitutes accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in court.

Porrino's office did not indicate whether Mongiello retained an attorney.

Suspicions of insurance cheating can be reported anonymously through the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor's web portal, or by phone, 1-877-55 FRAUD.

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