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March 16, 10

NEWS / Mercer County Man Charged With Submitting Fraudulent Disability Insurance Claims

TRENTON - Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that a Mercer County man has been indicted for allegedly collecting more than $39,000 by submitting fraudulent disability insurance claims.

According to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Riza Dagli, Emeka Iheukwumere, 53, of Ewing, Mercer County, was charged Friday (March 12) with second-degree insurance fraud, third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree falsifying records.

The Mercer County grand jury indictment alleges that between July 7, 2003, and March 30, 2005, Iheukwumere submitted fraudulent accidental disability claim forms and continuing disability claim forms. The indictment charges that Iheukwumere allegedly submitted claims containing fraudulent employee statements and attending physician statements to American Family Life Insurance Company (AFLAC) in connection with claims for disability payments. Iheukwumere allegedly claimed he was employed by the Council for Airport Opportunities, even though he was not employed by that entity and therefore was not entitled to disability benefits. The indictment also alleges that, as a result of his fraudulent actions, Iheukwumere obtained 12 insurance disability claim checks totaling $39,337.50 from AFLAC to which he was not entitled.

Detective Anthony Butler, Civil Investigator Wilbert Sowney and Deputy Attorney General Joan M. Burke were assigned to the investigation. DAG Burke presented the case to the Mercer County grand jury. This case was referred to OIFP by the Special Investigative Unit of AFLAC which initially uncovered the fraud and assisted OIFP in the investigation. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Dagli thanked AFLAC for its assistance in this matter.

The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a criminal fine of $15,000. Fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in state prison and a criminal fine of $10,000. In addition, Iheukwumere may face the imposition of civil insurance fraud fines.




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