Monmouth Homeowner Charged with Superstorm-Related Insurance Fraud
A 73-year-old homeowner in Little Silver risks prison time if he's convicted of trying to scam a payout from his property insurance carrier and blaming it on Superstorm Sandy. It's the third instance of its kind in as many weeks to move across the desk of Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi.
According to information from the office of New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Hoffman, Farouk Soliman was indicted Monday on counts of second-degree insurance fraud and third-degree theft by deception.
The indictment accuses Soliman of sending a form to Pacific Casualty Insurance Company in November 2012, claiming that a barn was destroyed when a tree toppled onto it during the storm.
Investigators say that Soliman's barn actually had been condemned by the borough the previous February as being structurally unsound, and that his claim was an attempt to recover $5,500 it cost to have the building demolished. The insurance company denied the application and turned it over to state prosecutors.
“The Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will continue to work hand-in-hand with insurance companies," said Chillemi in a prepared statement, "to identify fraudulent insurance claims so that valuable resources are not diverted for illegal purposes.”
If convicted of insurance fraud, Soliman could be sentenced to as many as 10 years in state prison and fined as much as $150,000. The theft-by-deception charge carries a maximum prison term of five years and fines up to $15,000.