Steven Herder, 40, of Lindenwold, was indicted on second-degree charges of insurance fraud, impersonation, and theft by deception for allegedly filing five false claims to his insurer, Aflac, between June 2012 and November 2014. He was also charged with third-degree attempted theft by deception and five counts of fourth-degree forgery in connection with the fraudulent claims. The boys were aged 6 months to 3 years old when the claims were submitted.
“Most parents would never dream of using their young children as a ruse to steal money from an insurance carrier, but this father allegedly thought nothing of manufacturing hospital records alleging his young sons were spending weeks on end in the hospital,” said Acting Attorney General Lougy. “In continuing down the path of criminal greed, Herder then allegedly used those fake records to bolster his fraudulent insurance claims.”
The claims sought payment for five stays – ranging from 11 weeks to 26 weeks – at West Jersey Hospital in Voorhees for one or the other of his twin boys. Herder forged three doctors’ signatures on the fake hospital records, which he’d manufactured on a computer, according to prosecutors.
Aflac paid approximately $140,000 in total for four of the claims and denied the fifth, valued at $30,250.
"Submitting false health care claims to insurance companies undermines New Jersey`s health care system by stealing money directly from the sources used to treat honest residents with genuine illnesses,” Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu said. “This office will continue to vigorously prosecute this kind of fraud to protect the integrity of New Jersey’s health care system for those who truly need it.”
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree crimes carry a sentence of up to eighteen months in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $5,000.
Deputy Attorney General Colin Keiffer presented the case to the grand jury. Detectives Kristi Procaccino, Megan Flanagan, and Kahlil McGrady coordinated the investigation. Assistant Bureau Chief Christina Runkle and Analyst Theresa Worthington assisted the investigation. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Iu thanked Aflac’s Special Investigations Unit for the assistance in the investigation.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Iu 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 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.