Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) announced today that two Mercer County men have been arrested and indicted for stealing a Florida man’s identity in order to open a roofing business which they used as a shell company to hide $1.5 million in revenue.
The shell company, Marrero Construction, Inc., also did legitimate roofing work, and allegedly underpaid its taxes by approximately a quarter-million dollars and underpaid its workers’ compensation premiums by approximately $350,000 between 2010 and 2011.
Douglas “Mauricio” Saenz, 34, of Trenton and Gilberth “Tacho” Navarro Umana, 33, of Hamilton, were indicted by the state grand jury on Friday (March 13) and were arrested today at their homes. Both men were charged with second-degree conspiracy, second-degree impersonation/identity theft, fourth-degree identity theft, two counts of second-degree theft by failure to make required disposition, second-degree misconduct by a corporate official, two counts of third-degree insurance fraud, two counts of third-degree failure to file an income tax return, two counts of failure to pay taxes, one count of fourth-degree workers compensation fraud and two counts of fourth-degree falsifying records. Saenz was also charged with hindering apprehension or prosecution. Saenz and Umana are currently being held in Mercer County jail awaiting a bail hearing.
The defendants allegedly employed an unindicted co-conspirator to assume the stolen identity of “E.M.” and front Marrero Construction. OIFP believes the front man posing as E.M., at the behest of the defendants, grossly underreported Marrero Construction’s payroll and represented in insurance filings that Marrero Construction’s primary business was carpentry, not roofing; both declarations reduced the company’s workers’ compensation liability by more than 97 percent, from approximately $350,000 to $9,413.
The state is further alleging that Marrero Construction did not file income tax returns for the years of 2010 and 2011 and thus the company and its actual owners, Saenz and Umana, owe the state $250,385 in back taxes, fees and interest.
OIFP located the actual E.M. in Florida and believes the man did not have knowledge of the alleged crimes that were perpetrated in his name.
Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Four-degree crimes carry prison of sentences up to 18 months and a fine of up to $10,000.
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.