TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor today announced that a Passaic County man has been charged with insurance fraud and related offenses for allegedly receiving $60,000 in insurance benefits to which he was not entitled by submitting forged documents showing medical treatments for illnesses he did not have.
Todd Eckel, 47, of Pompton Lakes, was indicted on charges of second-degree insurance fraud, third-degree theft by deception, third-degree attempted theft by deception, and fourth-degree forgery in connection with four claims he filed with American Heritage Life Insurance Company (“American Heritage”). The indictment was handed up yesterday by a state Grand Jury in Trenton.
Between February 2016 and November 2017 Eckel allegedly submitted forged physician statements in four separate insurance claims to reinforce the false impression that he was treated for a heart attack, Parkinson’s disease, coronary artery disease, and a stroke.
American Heritage, a subsidiary of Allstate, paid Eckel $20,000 for each of the first three claims.
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.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Deputy Attorney General Crystal Callahan presented the case to the Grand Jury.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Thompson thanked Allstate for referring the matter to OIFP.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Thompson 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.
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