N.J. Agency Target of Fraud Investigation

April 26, 2005

Vaughn McKoy, director, New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown have issued an alert asking Cumberland County residents who may have purchased insurance through the Millville-based Bates General Insurance Agency in 2003 and 2004 to contact the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor to provide information regarding their insurance purchase.

McKoy noted that the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor is investigating reported complaints that Stacey Bates, 32, the owner of Bates General Insurance Agency, formerly located at 319 North High Street, Millville, Cumberland County, accepted premium payments for homeowners insurance policies, failed to purchase the insurance, and potentially used the funds for non-insurance-related expenses. Specifically, the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor is investigating the validity of insurance policies purchased through the Bates Agency in 2003 and 2004.

Gooden-Brown noted that State Investigators have identified more than 70 Bates Insurance Agency customers and that Bates reportedly may have defrauded other insurance clients who are unaware that they may be without insurance coverage.

The Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor is encouraging anyone in the Cumberland and Salem County area who had contact with the Bates Insurance Agency to call the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at (609) 896-8931. Specific information being sought from Bates Agency customers include copies of cancelled checks, receipts, invoices, insurance cards, or other documentation received from the Bates Agency. All information will remain confidential.

The investigation will be submitted to a State Grand Jury for further review.

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