Essex County Man Receives Three-Year State Prison Term for Attempting to Obtain Compensation from Insurer for Damage Done to Vehicle before his Policy Became Effective

Derrick Smith, 32, of Newark, was sentenced by Essex County Superior Court Judge Alfonse J. Cifelli. Smith pleaded guilty in May to second-degree insurance fraud.

Smith was charged by the state grand jury in a September 2014 indictment that accused him of seeking $13,629 from National Liability and Fire for damage to his 2002 BMW M3 that he claimed had been done during a five-day period in December 2013 when car had been stolen. In addition, he stated that there was a $1,700 watch and earrings valued at $1,000 inside his stolen vehicle. Smith later contacted the police department and stated that he had found his car, but it had extensive damage, and his watch and earrings were gone. Smith then filed a claim with National, seeking compensation for the damages for the stolen personal items.

OIFP found that Smith himself caused the damage days before he reported his car stolen when he struck a parked car in Newark. He admitted as much to an insurance investigator investigating the damage to that parked car. The following day, Smith applied for and was granted an auto insurance policy from National, with an effective date and time of December 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Deputy Attorney General Colin Keiffer presented the case to the state grand jury. Detectives Terrence Buie and Detective Sergeant Jarek Pyrzanowski coordinated the investigation.

Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi 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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