TRENTON – A partial owner of a health care plan administration business was indicted today for allegedly stealing almost a half a million dollars from a trust fund that was a client of her company, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi announced.
According to Chillemi, Catarina Young, 46, of Metuchen, was charged with second-degree theft by unlawful taking, second-degree misapplication of entrusted property or property of government or financial institution and third-degree forgery.
At the time the crimes allegedly occurred, Young was a partial owner of the now-defunct Elite Benefits Corp., which was located in Middlesex County. Elite administered healthcare plans on behalf of third-party entities, including the Multi-Skilled Employees & Employer Welfare Trust Fund, an organization consisting of several union employers
The Middlesex County grand jury indictment alleges that between Nov. 17, 2003 and Dec. 26, 2006, Young, as a fiduciary of the fund, deposited into her own bank accounts 86 checks and 16 wire transfers totaling $462,341 belonging to the fund and kept the proceeds for her own use. The indictment also alleges that Young forged a signature of one of the trustees of the fund on two of the checks knowing that neither the fund nor such trustee authorized her to do so.
Deputy Attorney General T.J. Harker and Sgt. Anthony Butler were assigned to the investigation. Harker presented the case to the Middlesex County grand jury. Acting Prosecutor Chillemi thanked Angelo Gaglias, Criminal Coordinator, Ani White, Special Agent and Carmela V. Pagano, Senior Investigator, all of the U.S. Department of Labor for their assistance in the investigation.
The indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a criminal fine of $15,000.
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