N.J. Wife, Husband Charged in Auto PIP Fraud Case

July 12, 2005

New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn McKoy announced that the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has obtained an indictment charging a Passaic County couple with insurance fraud for their roles in an automobile insurance Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud conspiracy.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Virginia B. Kinion, 65, of Paterson, and her husband, John Knight, 48, same address, were charged with conspiracy, Health Care Claims Fraud (2nd degree), and attempted theft by deception (3rd degree). Kinion was also charged with separate counts of Health Care Claims Fraud (2nd degree), theft by deception, tampering with public records or information (3rd degree), and two counts of falsifying records (4th degree).

Knight was additionally charged with falsifying records and false swearing (4th degree). A second-degree crime carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in state prison and a fine of $150,000. A third-degree crime carries a maximum penalty of five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum penalty of 18 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, the defendants face possible civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act.

The Passaic County Grand Jury indictment alleges that between June 6 and Dec. 31, 2002, Kinion and Knight submitted a false automobile insurance policy application and false PIP claims to the Clarendon National Insurance Company after being involved in an automobile accident.

An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that, at the time of the accident, neither Kinion nor Knight had automobile insurance. According to the indictment, Kinion applied for and received automobile insurance issued by Clarendon National Insurance Company on June 7 – a day after the motor vehicle accident. The investigation further revealed that Kinion denied involvement in any accidents during the prior 36 months.

Upon receiving automobile insurance coverage, Kinion and Knight filed PIP health-care claims totaling more than $23,100 with the Clarendon National Insurance Co. According to the indictment, three days after the applying for insurance (June 10), Kinion falsely reported to the Paterson Police Department that the accident occurred on June 7.

The investigation determined that on June 11 and/or 12, Kinion returned to the Paterson P.D. to revise her report, adding that Knight was a passenger when, in fact, Knight was the driver at the time of the accident. Clarendon National Insurance denied both claims.

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