TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor today announced the sentencing of a New Jersey man for issuing numerous bad checks. The defendant was charged as a result of an investigation by the Private Insurance Fraud Bureau of the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and the New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Task Force.
Alfred Balak-Labracio, 38, of Bernardsville, N.J., was sentenced to 364 days in county jail on Friday by Superior Court Judge Michael J. Rogers in Somerset County. Labracio waived indictment by trial and pleaded guilty on Monday, April 11 to an accusation charging him with 49 counts of third-degree bad checks and 3 counts of fourth-degree bad checks.
“Writing bad checks is a crime with serious consequences,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “Let this sentence serve as a clear message to all. New Jersey has no tolerance for swindlers who defraud businesses and others through check fraud scams.”
“We’re committed to holding criminals accountable and ensuring the end of their schemes,” said Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Tracy M. Thompson. “The Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who commit these crimes in order to deter this type of fraud that can harm individuals as well as businesses.”
In pleading guilty, Labracio admitted to issuing 49 bad checks totaling more than $166,088 to Mercedes Benz Financial Services, BMW Financial Services, and General Motors Financial between September 29, 2017 and September 5, 2018 and another 3 checks totaling more than $1,814 to Progressive Insurance, Geico Insurance, and BMW Financial Services between August 17, 2017 and October 18, 2017. In waiving indictment by trial, Labracio admitted to issuing or passing a check or similar sight order for the payment of money, knowing that it would not be honored by the drawee.
Deputy Attorney General Donovan D. Cho prosecuted the case for the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) under the supervision of Private Insurance Bureau Chief DAG Cheryl Maccaroni, Assistant Bureau Chief DAG Crystal Callahan, and Deputy Insurance Fraud Prosecutor AAG Al Garcia. The investigation was conducted with assistance from Sgt. Amy Carson, Civil Investigator Gabrielle Kane, and Det. Janel Tjiong.
Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Tracy M. Thompson noted that many 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 website at www.NJInsurancefraud.org. 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.
Defense Attorney: James J. Leonard Jr., Esq., Leonard Law Group, LLC, Atlantic City, N.J.