A Camden County father of twin boys admitted he submitted more than $140,000 in fraudulent claims for hospital stays his sons never had.
Steven Herder, 41, of Lindenwold, pleaded guilty to second-degree insurance fraud for filing five false claims to his insurer, American Family Life Assurance Company (“Aflac”) between June 2012 and November 2014. The boys were aged 6 months to 3 years old when the claims were submitted.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, the state will recommend a three-year prison term when Herder is sentenced on November 4th. Herder must also pay $140,000 in restitution to Aflac. The plea hearing was held before Camden Superior Court Judge John T Kelly.
“What makes this case especially distasteful is that this man not only cheated and lied to his insurance carrier, he used his young sons as props to carry out the illegal scheme,” said Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino. “We will seek a prison sentence for Mr. Herder in response to his blatant fraud.”
The claims sought payment for five stays – ranging from 11 weeks to 26 weeks – at West Jersey Hospital in Voorhees for one or the other of his twin boys. Herder forged three doctors’ signatures on the fake hospital records, which he had manufactured on a computer, according to prosecutors.
Aflac paid approximately $140,000 in total for four of the claims and denied the fifth, valued at $30, 250.
“Health care fraud is a serious crime that drives up insurance costs for honest people with legitimate illnesses,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu. “ Anyone caught cheating New Jersey’s health care system will face serious consequences, as this defendant has learned.”
Deputy Attorney General Colin Keiffer presented the case to the grand jury. Detectives Kristi Procaccino, Megan Flanagan, and Kahlil McGrady coordinated the investigation. Assistant Bureau Chief Christina Runkle and Analysts Theresa Worthington and Terri Drum assisted the investigation. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Iu thanked Aflac’s Special Investigations Unit for the assistance in the investigation.
John K Conner, Esq., of The Conner Law Group, represented Herder at the plea hearing.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Iu noted that some important cases have started with anonymous tips. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have information about a fraud can report it anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting the Web site at www.NJInsurancefraud.org. 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.
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