TRENTON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor announced today that a Middlesex County woman was indicted on charges related to an insurance fraud and money laundering scheme, in which she allegedly submitted falsified timesheets purporting to be from her caregiver, when he was in fact deceased.
Leoncia Hutchinson, 72, of Metuchen, New Jersey, was indicted on one count of insurance fraud (2nd degree), one count of theft by deception (3rd degree), one count of financial facilitation/money laundering (3rd degree), one count of forgery (3rd degree), and 12 counts of forgery (4th degree). Hutchinson’s arraignment is scheduled for November 6, 2023, before Judge Joseph Paone in state Superior Court in Middlesex County.
The indictment, returned by a state grand jury on October 3, 2023, was the result of an investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) after a referral from Continental Casualty Company, a CNA-affiliated underwriting company (CNA).
The investigation showed that between October 2018 and April 2019, Hutchinson allegedly committed insurance fraud by submitting, or causing to be submitted, false, fictitious, or misleading statements to CNA, in an attempt to create the false impression that services were provided to her by an independent caregiver, who was dead at the time. Hutchinson is alleged to have submitted to CNA forged timesheets bearing the deceased caregiver’s name, in order to receive long-term care payments from CNA for his services.
The indictment also alleged that CNA made payments to Hutchinson, and she then wrote checks to the deceased caregiver, deposited the funds into an account, then moved the funds back into an account in her name, knowing the transactions were designed to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of the money.
“As alleged in the indictment, the passing of this caregiver was viewed as a moneymaking opportunity. But efforts to capitalize on his death, using fraudulent documentation, failed,” said Attorney General Platkin. “We continue to do our part to investigate and prosecute insurance fraud schemes, and encourage individuals and businesses who learn of fraudulent activity to come forward and report it.”
“This defendant allegedly tried to cheat the system by using a bogus paper trail and writing out checks to someone who was no longer living,” Interim Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Al Garcia said. “Our office is equipped to uncover theft schemes, and attempted cover-ups will not stop criminal activity from being brought to light.”
These charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to eighteen months in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Deputy Attorney General Jana Robinson presented the case to the State Grand Jury on behalf of OIFP, under the supervision of Assistant Bureau Chief Crystal Callahan and Bureau Chief Cheryl Maccaroni. The investigation was conducted by OIFP Detective Nicholas Esposito, under the supervision of Lt. Anne Hayes and Deputy Chief Anthony Butler. Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Garcia thanked his staff for their work on this case, as well as Continental Casualty Company for the referral.
OIFP’s mission includes coordination of all anti-insurance fraud activities statewide and many successful prosecutions are a result of initial anonymous tips. If you are concerned about insurance cheating and have information about a fraud, OIFP wants to hear from you. You can report fraud anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting www.NJInsurancefraud.org. State regulations permit a reward to be paid to eligible persons who provide information that leads to an arrest, prosecution, and conviction for insurance fraud.
Insurance Fraud – Report It. End It.
Defense Attorney: Unknown at this time