N.J. Woman Charged in Scheme to Steal $175K from Insurance Annuity Policies

February 13, 2019

A New Jersey woman has been charged with insurance fraud and other offenses in an alleged scheme to steal more than $175,000 from the insurance annuity policies of two individuals.

Vashanta Stroud-Bennett, 45, of Paterson, N.J., was charged with second degree insurance fraud, second degree theft by deception, second degree impersonation, third degree impersonation and third degree attempted theft by deception. The charges were contained in an indictment handed up by a State Grand Jury in Trenton, N.J., on February 4.

According to the indictment, on or between July 23 and August 1 of 2017, Stroud-Bennett obtained personal identifying information pertaining to two individuals and assumed their identities in an attempt to obtain money from their insurance annuity policies.

In the first case, Stroud-Bennett allegedly impersonated policy owner P.C in two withdrawal requests submitted to Voya Insurance and Annuity Company, also known as Voya Financial.

The first request sought partial distribution of $78,900 from P.C.’s annuity policy. The second request sought a partial distribution of $93,400 from the same policy.

Stroud-Bennett also allegedly impersonated P.C. in an email to Voya Financial and in a conversation with a company representative in connection with the distribution requests. Stroud-Bennett obtained more than $75,000 from the account, according to the indictment.

In the second case, Stroud-Bennett allegedly impersonated policy owner L.C. in a withdrawal request submitted to Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. The request sought a partial withdrawal of $22,000 from L.C.’s annuity policy.

She also allegedly impersonated L.C. in a phone conversation with an Allianz representative in connection with the withdrawal request.

The charges are merely accusations, 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 carry a sentence of three-to-five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000.

Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Menjivar presented the case to the grand jury. Detectives James Mahady and Justin Callahan coordinated the investigation.

Source: New Jersey Office of the Attorney General

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