By: Najla Alexander
NJ AG authorities announced that the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor said 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.
Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin stated that Leoncia Hutchinson, 72, of Metuchen, was indicted on one count of insurance fraud, one count of theft by deception, one count of financial facilitation/money laundering, one count of forgery, and 12 counts of forgery.
Hutchinson's arraignment is scheduled for November 6, 2023, before Judge Joseph Paone in the state Superior Court in Middlesex County, officials stated.
According to officials, 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, officials say.
Authorities say Hutchinson is alleged to have submitted to CNA forged timesheets bearing the deceased caregiver's name to receive long-term care payments from CNA for his services.
The indictment also alleged that CNA made payments to Hutchi.
She then wrote checks to the deceased caregiver, deposited the funds into an account, and 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, officials said.
"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.