A Roselle man has been criminally charged with filing a fraudulent insurance claim for repairs on a luxury vehicle he wrecked while intoxicated earlier this year, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Roselle Police Chief Brian Barnes jointly announced Friday.
Brian Bullock, 31, is charged with second-degree insurance fraud, second- and third-degree falsifying government documents, and third-degree tampering with public records or information.
At approximately 12:38 a.m. on Saturday, June 20, members of the Roselle Police Department responded to Spruce Street near East 10th Avenue to find that Bullock had struck a parked vehicle with his car, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Henn, who is prosecuting the case. Bullock was subsequently charged with driving while intoxicated and other traffic violations, and then released on his own recognizance.
An investigation led by Roselle Police Detective Terrell McGriff and Sgt. Michael Manochio of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit revealed that a little more than seven hours after the accident, Bullock contacted Progressive Insurance to obtain an insurance policy for the 2013 Audi S5 that had just been heavily damaged earlier that day.
The day after the accident, Bullock allegedly filed an accident claim on his new policy for the $23,586 repair bill – documenting that the collision had taken place at 12:38 p.m. on June 20, not 12:38 a.m. Bullock allegedly repeated that assertion multiple times during the application process, and after obtaining a copy of the official accident report several days later, he also allegedly digitally altered and falsified the time stamp, and then submitted it to Progressive to back his claim.
Bullock was served the criminal charges at his home on Thursday, after which he was released on his own recognizance pending a first appearance scheduled to take place in Union County Superior Court.
October is Insurance Fraud Awareness Month, and several weeks ago, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the state Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) announced a new publicity campaign to create awareness of the crime, along with a newly designed OIFP webpage to make reporting fraud easier. The new campaign’s slogan, “Insurance Fraud: Report It. End It,” began appearing in ads running on billboards and buses throughout the state and on cable television earlier this month, and the new web page can be viewed at www.NJInsuranceFraud.org. The web page also provides information on what constitutes insurance fraud and how to identify its various forms, including incidents of elder abuse committed against Medicaid recipients or at facilities that receive Medicaid funding.
“It is estimated that more than $80 billion in various forms of fraudulent insurance claims are made annually in the U.S., and those costs are unfortunately passed from the insurance companies to the consumer, driving up rates,” Prosecutor Ruotolo said. “That’s why we urge anyone with knowledge of a crime of this nature to please come forward and share what they know.”
Anyone with information about a specific instance of insurance fraud can report it anonymously by visiting the www.NJInsuranceFraud.org web page or calling the state’s toll-free hotline, 1-877-55-FRAUD. State regulations permit a reward to be paid to an eligible person who provides information that leads to an arrest, prosecution, and conviction for insurance fraud.
Convictions on second-degree criminal offenses are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.