Mayor Garrett Smith of Roselle, N.J. was indicted by a Union County Grand Jury this afternoon on one count of 2nd Degree Insurance Fraud, announced Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow. Smith has also been charged with one count of 4th Degree Filing a False Police Report.
Smith, DOB: 9/25/1961, of Jackson Avenue in Roselle is accused of leaving the scene of an accident that occurred on Locust Ave in Roselle in the early morning hours of Dec. 25, 2010. The accident severely damaged both a parked car and Smith’s vehicle. Pieces of Smith’s vehicle – a 2001 Lincoln Town Car – were left at the scene, said Romankow.
A copy of the indictment is attached to this press release.
Investigators also obtained videos from private businesses showing Smith leaving a local tavern at 2:10 a.m. on Dec. 25, 2010 a short distance from where the accident occurred, said Romankow.
Officers who responded to a 2:14 a.m. 9-1-1 call from a private citizen who witnessed the collision, followed a trail of automotive fluids that led to a garage door at Smith’s home, said Romankow.
Officers knocked on the door to Smith’s home but received no reply.
The following day, Dec. 26, 2010, according to prosecutors, Smith moved his car onto the street during the massive snowstorm. Smith later called police to report that his vehicle had been struck, alleging that it might have been a snowplow that caused the damage.
Smith subsequently notified his insurance company, New Jersey Manufactures Insurance Company, and reported the fraudulent claim. He would have several additional conversations with the insurance company regarding the fraudulent claim in the following days.
An investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Prosecutions Unit, the Roselle Police Department, the crime scene unit of the Union County Sheriff’s Department and an accident reconstruction unit from the Linden Police Department concluded that Smith was responsible for the initial accident and that his claims to the insurance company were false. Assistant Prosecutor James Tansey will handle the case.
Prosecutor Romankow commended Sgt. William Brennan and other members of the Roselle Police Department for their diligent and thorough investigation.
If found guilty of the charges Smith faces up to 10 years in prison and will be ineligible to hold public employment in the future.
“Nothing is accomplished by trying to cover up a wrongdoing,” said Prosecutor Romankow. “Mr. Smith had the opportunity to do the right thing from the beginning by stopping and reporting that he was involved in an accident. He only compounded his error by lying to the police and his insurance carrier by falsifying a claim. As a public servant, the people who elected him deserve the truth.”
These criminal charges are mere accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.