Acting AG Bruck Announces Pennsylvania Man Sentenced to Six Months’ Imprisonment on Insurance Fraud Charges After Staging Accident in New Jersey

For Immediate Release: October 5, 2021

Office of The Attorney General
– Andrew J. Bruck, Acting Attorney General
Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
– Tracy M. Thompson, Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

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Media Inquiries-
K.C. Lopez

TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) announced that a Pennsylvania man was sentenced to 180 days in the Essex County Correctional Facility as a condition of probation for committing insurance fraud when he staged a motor vehicle accident in Newark, New Jersey.

James E. Payne of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania must also pay $13,577.17 in restitution under a sentence handed down by Superior Court Judge Michael A. Petrolle in Essex County Monday.

In July 2019, Payne made a fraudulent claim to Liberty Mutual when he reported his insured vehicle was the subject of a hit and run accident, when in reality, Payne staged the accident. In May 2021 he pleaded guilty to third-degree insurance fraud in connection with payouts on the claim.

“Insurance fraud is a crime that costs insurance providers and drives up premiums for honest policy holders,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “When you exploit the insurance system for your personal profit, we will hold you accountable.” 

“We are sending a message that New Jersey is no place for insurance fraud,” said Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Tracy M. Thompson. “OIFP remains committed to investigating and prosecuting those who defraud the state’s insurance industry.”

DAG Donovan Cho represented the State at the sentencing hearing under the supervision of Private Insurance Bureau Chief DAG Cheryl Maccaroni and Assistant Bureau Chief DAG Crystal Callahan. Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Thompson thanked Liberty Mutual for referring the matter to OIFP.

October is Insurance Fraud Awareness Month. All month long OIFP is educating, bringing awareness and empowering residents across the state to report insurance fraud on the OIFP website and to become familiar with common insurance fraud schemes.

Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Thompson noted that some important cases have started with anonymous tips. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have information about a fraud can report it anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting the Web site at State regulations permit a reward to be paid to an eligible person who provides information that leads to an arrest, prosecution and conviction for insurance fraud.


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