TRENTON – A Middlesex County woman was sentenced to state prison today for stealing nearly $170,000 by falsifying invoices that she sent to an insurance company regarding out-of-pocket expenses she purportedly incurred for in-home healthcare services provided to her ailing husband, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced.
Loreta Fontanilla, 72, of Piscataway, was sentenced to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Bradley J. Ferencz in Middlesex County. The sentence was based on Fontanilla’s guilty plea to second-degree theft by deception. The charge was contained in a Dec. 14, 2012 state grand jury indictment.
“This defendant stole thousands of dollars every month for six years by falsifying bills, but her greed caught up with her,” said Hoffman. “This type of fraud drives up the cost of health insurance for all of us. The sentence imposed today sends a clear message that defrauding insurance companies by padding invoices can, and will, lead to a lengthy prison sentence.”
In pleading guilty on May 31, Fontanilla admitted that between January 2005 and December 2010, she stole $169,900 by submitting 71 falsified independent care provider monthly invoices to the MetLife Insurance Company (“MetLife”) for health care services purportedly provided to her husband. An investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Fontanilla falsely claimed on these invoices that her husband had received between approximately 52 and 93 hours of health care services during each month and that Fontanilla paid the healthcare service providers $50 per hour. The investigation further revealed that, in fact, the nurses provided healthcare services to Fontanilla’s husband between 10 and 40 hours per month at a rate of $25 per hour, and that Fontanilla paid the nurses a total of approximately $27,000 during the time period that is the subject of the indictment.
Deputy Attorney General T.J. Harker, Detective Wendy Berg and Analyst Kelly Celenza coordinated the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Cheryl Maccaroni handled the sentencing for the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi thanked MetLife for referring the matter to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and for its assistance in the investigation.
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