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  • Dean Smith

NJ Man Indicted in Disability Insurance Scam, Indicted Again Week Later with Girlfriend for Addition

According to an article by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Vinny Curbelo, 31, of Perth Amboy, NJ, was indicted in mid-November of 2014 for a half-million dollar disability insurance scam. One week later, Curbelo and his girlfriend, Nicole Stankovitz, 31, of Perth Amboy, were charged in an additional, complex insurance scam involving the defrauding of an auto insurance company. Talk about the professional claimant!

Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor identified that on November 13, 2014, Curbelo was charged for claiming injuries he had sustained in a fraudulent accident while on site at his employer, DCH Honda in Old Bridge, NJ. Curbelo laid down beside a patch of ice and called for help, claiming he had slipped and injured his back. The investigation identified that insurance covered over $500,000 worth of medical treatment for his back from injuries he had sustained prior to the “accident” ($140,213 was paid by the car dealership’s insurer, Gallagher Bassett).

As if that wasn’t enough, “the defendant accepted approximately $55,803 in temporary disability payments for two years following the faked accident, though it is alleged he was working under the table at a Keyport auto body shop. Also included in the indictment are charges that the man stole approximately $16,700 from the bank accounts of that auto body shop during his term of employment,” according to the Office of the Attorney General.

A week after receiving the indictment for his involvement in the above mentioned insurance scam, Curbelo and his girlfriend, Nicole Stankovitz, were charged for stealing approximately $23,000 from a credit union and defrauding GEICO of more than $32,000 by forging documents related to a stolen SUV.

The indictment noted that Curbelo purchased a stolen 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee off the black market in August of 2012 with money he and Stankovitz had received from a $23,000 loan provided by Central Jersey Federal Credit Union. However, before the credit union could release funds, they needed the check to be cut to the titleholder of the vehicle. Curbelo and Stankovitz provided a fraudulent Indiana title (including a fake VIN) and listed a friend’s name as the seller.

Curbelo then paid $200 to a friend (same name as the seller on the title) to deposit the $23,000 check and then withdraw the funds in cash and hand the money back to Curbelo. According to the acting Attorney General, the couple then “submitted a falsified Application for Certificate of Ownership to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) in order to obtain a New Jersey title to this vehicle, which they eventually did receive.”

To complete their complex scheme, the couple added the vehicle, with fraudulent VIN, to their GEICO policy. Approximately two months later on October 22, 2012, “the defendants reported to the police that the vehicle was stolen from them and filed a claim for a theft loss with GEICO. After several months of communications between GEICO and the couple, GEICO settled the ‘theft’ claim for the market value of the vehicle: $32,079.48. From that settlement, a payment was made to CJFCU for $23,897.61 to pay off the loan balance, and Stankovitz pocketed the rest, approximately $8,000. The car itself was recovered in Perth Amboy severely damaged from flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy.”

Acting Attorney General, John J. Hoffman, stated that, “This was a carefully calculated scam that involved many layers of deceit and fraud.”

Judging by the complexity and execution of these two insurance crimes, we made the determination that the accused are clearly professional claimants. Hoffman thought the same: “Given these two indictments, which are based on cases totally separate from each other, it appears Curbelo is a recidivist practitioner of insurance fraud.”

Both have been charged with second-degree insurance fraud, two counts of third-degree theft by deception, third-degree money laundering, third-degree receiving stolen property, third-degree motor vehicle title offenses and third-degree removal or alteration of motor vehicle identification number or mark.

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