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Insurance Fraud May Cost Hillsborough Woman $39K

East Brookside Lane resident pleads guilty to lying on car insurance applications for 13 years.

A Hillsborough woman pleaded guilty Friday to insurance fraud after lying on her car insurance applications for 13 years, the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office said.

Maria Demeter, 42, of East Brookside Lane, agreed in front of Superior Court Judge Julie M. Marino, sitting in Somerville, to make restitution to the New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance, and was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service and be placed on non-custodial probation.

Demeter, also known as Maria Schebece, was charged in August with insurance fraud for lying on her applications with NJM since 1999, claiming to be living alone when she was married and living with her husband, who did not qualify for the company's insurance, the prosecutor's office said in a statement released Tuesday.

The court may order restitution at sentencing in an amount of up to $39,019.76, representing the premiums Demeter saved with the false informaiton, plus $4,205.76 paid in March 2010 for a claim she made, the prosecutor's office said.

Demeter's case was brought to the attention of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit in April of 2012, after NJM reported she had disclosed she made material misrepresentation in obtaining her motor vehicle insurance policies since 1999, the prosecutor's office said.

The prosecutor's office said Demeter had purchased two auto insurance policies based on rates for a single woman living in a household with no other registered drivers. 

Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano said the investigation found Demeter’s misrepresentations enabled her to puchase the policies, but she would have not been eligible for otherwise because of her spouse's driving record.

NJM was formed nearly 100 years ago to provide insurance to members of the Manufacturer's Association of New Jersey, now the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, and is known for its strict requirements for eligibility and its low premium costs.

The prosecutor's office said Demeter benefited by paying substantially lower insurance rates than she would have if she provided accurate information to NJM. 

Demeter was served on Aug. 27, 2012, with a summons complaint charging third-degree insurance fraud by detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit and released on her own recognizance.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 1, 2013, before Judge Marino.  She has been released on her own recognizance pending sentencing.

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