A Pennsylvania man has been charged with filing nearly $50,000 in fraudulent insurance claims for items allegedly lost or stolen while he was traveling around the country.
Robert Cirino of Reading, Penn., was indicted on charges of second-degree insurance fraud and third-degree theft by deception in connection with five fraudulent claims he allegedly filed seeking payouts on homeowners or renters insurance policies on properties in Jersey City, Newark and Elizabeth, N.J. The charges were contained in an indictment handed up by a state grand jury in Trenton, N.J., on Thursday.
“We allege this defendant used his insurance provider like an ATM that would provide him with money any time he filed a fraudulent claim,” said Acting New Jersey Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Tracy M. Thompson. “As this indictment shows, this kind of blatant criminal greed and exploitation of the insurance system will not be tolerated in New Jersey.”
Cirino is charged with submitting five fraudulent claims to Travelers Insurance between September 2015 and February 2017. According to the indictment, Cirino, who also uses the names Rafael Diaz, Michael Cirino, Christopher Sanchez and Robert Cirino, provided fraudulent receipts, invoices and other documents in support of the fraudulent claims. Travelers Insurance paid out $27,700 on two claims but denied three others.
Cirino, who often claimed that he traveled with a wheelchair and oxygen because he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sought insurance coverage for:
- A collapsible wheelchair, a book bag containing a MacBook Pro laptop computer, $500 cash, credit cards, a cell phone case and a toiletry kit containing medication allegedly lost on a Miami Airport terminal bus when the bus driver drove off before he could retrieve his belongings.
- A wheelchair, a book bag containing $800 cash, credit cards, an iPhone cellular telephone, an oxygen compressor and medication allegedly stolen when a cab driver drove off with his belongings in Baltimore, Md.
- An iPad tablet computer, medication, $1,000 cash and clothing allegedly left by him on a train in Chicago, Ill., and gone when he went to retrieve them.
- A motorized wheel chair, an oxygen condenser, an insulin pump and insulin, an iPad Pro tablet computer and a book bag allegedly stolen when two men he accepted a ride from in Charlotte, N.C., drove away with his belongings while he was using an ATM machine.
- Six MacBook Pro laptop computers he purchased as Christmas gifts allegedly stolen from the garage of a family member he was staying with in Chicago, Ill.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree charges in New Jersey carry a sentence of five-to-10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree crimes in New Jersey carry a sentence of three-to-five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000.
“Submitting false claims on your homeowners or renters insurance policy to receive undeserved compensation is not only a crime, it drives up premiums and forces honest policy holders to pay more to insure their properties,” said New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.
Deputy Attorney General Crystal Callahan presented the case to the grand jury. Detectives Amy Carson and John Cicchino coordinated the investigation.
Source: The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General