Insurance Adjuster Pleads Guilty to Defrauding New Jersey Turnpike Authority, Insurance Companies of $900,000
NEWARK, NJ—The owner of a New Jersey-based insurance adjusting company today admitted his role in a scheme to defraud the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) and various insurance companies of at least $900,000, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Robert Napolitano, 54, of Clifton, New Jersey, owner of Dawn to Dusk LLC, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty to an information charging him with using the mails to facilitate a scheme to defraud the NJTA and insurance companies through false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In October 2011, Napolitano reached an agreement with Gerardo Blasi, 56, of Clifton, New Jersey, who was employed as claims manager for the NJTA. It was Blasi’s job to negotiate and recover the costs of repairs from insurance companies of motorists who caused damage to property belonging to the NJTA. As part of the agreement, it was Napolitano’s responsibility to evaluate the damage caused by the insured motorist, create an estimate of the cost to repair the damage, and negotiate with the particular insurance company to arrive at the repair amount. Napolitano would request that the checks issued by the insurance companies for the costs of repairing the damage be made payable to Dawn to Dusk and mailed to Napolitano’s business.
Once Napolitano received these checks he would keep a portion of the proceeds for himself, provide Blasi with a share of the proceeds, and sometimes send the remaining amount to the NJTA as payment for the damages caused by the insured motorist. However, on several occasions, he and Blasi simply kept all of the proceeds. As a result of this scheme, Napolitano and others defrauded the NJTA and various insurance companies of approximately $900,000.
The charge to which Napolitano pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for January 8, 2015.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents from the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s plea. He also thanked the N.J. Turnpike Authority, under the direction of Veronique Hakim, for its cooperation during the investigation. Blasi pled guilty on December 11, 2013, and is due to be sentenced on November 12, 2014.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Foster of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Special Prosecution’s Division.