Elizabeth police officer charged with insurance fraud

An Elizabeth Police Department officer has been charged with illegally collecting thousands of dollars in benefits by engaging in insurance fraud, acting Union County Prosecutor Thomas K. Isenhour announced Thursday.

Alana Velazquez, 39, of Rahway is charged with second-degree insurance fraud, third-degree theft by deception, and three counts of fourth-degree uttering a forged document.

An investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit revealed that Velazquez was injured on the job in January 2016, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Rosenthal, who is prosecuting the case.

Velazquez’s existing supplemental American Family Life Assurance Company (AFLAC) insurance policy did not cover on-duty injuries, but she submitted documents containing false and forged information to the company indicating that her injury actually occurred as the result of a covered, off-duty incident, Rosenthal said. As a result, she allegedly received more than $8,600 in disability benefits to which she was not entitled.

Velazquez was served the charges against her at Elizabeth Police Department headquarters yesterday morning and released pending a first appearance scheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 27.

Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by terms of 5 to 10 years in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.