- Dean Smith
Ex-Railroad COO from Plainfield, NJ Convicted of Insurance Fraud
According to Mike Deak of mycentraljersey.com, 76-year-old Gordon Fuller of Plainfield, NJ and a former chief operating officer of the Morristown and Erie Railway Inc. (M&E) was convicted last month of attempting to steal over $75,000 by falsely inflating an insurance claim. The claim was filed in connection with a truck accident that damaged a railroad switch back in 2005.
New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau all had a hand in investigating the fraud. Testimony and evidence was presented at trial that Fuller purposely inflated the claim stemming from the March 2005 accident and submitted false supporting documents to NJM.
On March 4th, 2005, a truck owned by a paper company went off the road during a snowstorm and was stuck on a railroad switch on tracks owned by M&E in Morristown, NJ. NJM insured the truck.
An initial invoice was prepared to send to NJM to repair the $29,000 in damage to the switch. However, NJM never received that invoice, as Fuller had ordered the invoice to be falsely inflated for a grand total of $144,307; a difference of $115,307. The new invoice was submitted to NJM for payment.
It was also discovered that Fuller directed employees to report to NJM, alleging that the initial repairs were ineffective and subsequently caused a train derailment, resulting in additional repairs to the switch. Those reports were found to have been completely false.
Further investigation identified work orders by M&E for the damaged switch. Some of the employees denied working on the switch on specific days, and others were found to have not been employed with the company at the time of the accident.
NJM ultimately caught wind of the fraud, denied the claim, and referred the case to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. After the prosecutor’s office investigation, the case was then referred to the Attorney General’s Office, and Fuller was subsequently charged and found guilty on charges of conspiracy, insurance fraud, attempted theft by deception, and falsifying or tampering with records. Sentencing is scheduled for November 30th, 2017.
Furthermore, according to mycentraljersey.com, this investigation, “also resulted in a second indictment charging Fuller and a former project manager for M&E, Willard Phillips, 65, of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, with defrauding the New Jersey Department of Transportation of over $800,000 by submitting false claims for grant funds for work on railway improvements that were never performed.” These additional charges are currently pending.
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