Janette Bautista, 57, pleaded guilty to third-degree insurance fraud before Essex County Superior Court Judge Peter V. Ryan. The state recommended a state prison sentence of three years.
In pleading guilty, Bautista admitted that in November 2011 she reported her car stolen to the Newark Police Department and later filed a stolen car claim with her insurer, New Jersey Indemnity Insurance Company (NJIC) for the value of her 2006 Chevrolet Uplander. In January 2012, NJIC issued Bautista a settlement check for the car. An investigation by OIFP later determined that Bautista’s car had not been stolen, but that she had in fact abandoned her car.
Deputy Attorney General Michael Locke and Detectives Natalie Brotherston, Taryn Kong, and Ryan Kirsh 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 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.