Police in Linden, NJ have finally uncovered the culprit of an insurance fraud ring that took insurance companies for tens of thousands of dollars. The ringleader, 28-year-old Miguel Saldivar-Liberato, was arrested for a number of charges related to staging a car accident and manipulating witnesses.
According to NJ.com, Saldivar-Liberato allegedly orchestrated a staged car accident in 2012 and tried to influence witnesses in a different fraud case while his uncle, Oliveras Liberato-Cohen, was being investigated.
In early December, a grand jury charged Saldivar-Liberato with a slew of crimes, including insurance fraud, tampering with witnesses, conspiracy, theft by deception, and hindering prosecution.
According to Clark-Garwood Patch, Saldivar-Liberato’s uncle has admitted to being behind a number of different staged car accidents in Northern New Jersey. Saldivar-Liberato staged his own car accident in January of 2012. He gathered four people to participate in the scheme and planned the staging of the accident.
The investigation, called Operation Bang Up and conducted by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, looked at car accidents in Passaic County between the years 2009 and 2013.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are an estimated 5.5 million car accidents each year, which result in more than three million injuries. In the staged accident, the four participants were each instructed to fake injuries and report to certain medical care professionals for treatment. NJ.com reports that Saldivar-Liberato and his cronies ultimately frauded insurance companies for $55,468.
Four of the co-conspirators, Hairo Matias, Ramon Mosquea, Anthony DeCastro, and Daniela Garcia, were arrested and charged with theft by deception, conspiracy, and insurance fraud.
Liberato-Cohen, the uncle, was the original focus of Operation Bang Up. He admitted last month to orchestrating two similar accidents in 2010.
When he announced Saldivar-Liberato’s indictment, acting State Attorney General John Hoffman said, “Many times doctors are treating patients that do not need care and insurers are fixing cars that should have never been damaged. The bottom line here is that all insurance premium payers are victims of this fraud.”