Posted on September 11, 2014 by DIGITORY
By Karen Wall (Patch Staff) Updated September 11, 2014
A Toms River man has been indicted on charges he tried to defraud his insurance company to get an $80,000 payout to put a new roof on his home, the state Attorney General’s office said.
Louis Ciardi, 55, was charged with second-degree insurance fraud and second-degree theft by deception in the state grand jury indictment.
According to the indictment, Ciardi filed a homeowner’s insurance claim for partial roof repairs immediately following Superstorm Sandy in November 2012, and filed a separate claim with his insurer, New Jersey Manufacturers, following a windy day in March 2013.
New Jersey Manufacturers denied Ciardi’s spring 2013 claim because the company alleged that no repairs had actually been completed following Superstorm Sandy to protect against possible future damages. Ciardi, it is alleged, lied to NJM, claiming that he had repaired the roof following the 2012 destructive storm. Ciardi was allegedly seeking $79,698.32 from NJM for a total roof replacement following the damage to his house in March 2013.
There is no alleged fraud associated with the Sandy claim in and of itself.
“Mr. Ciardi committed insurance fraud from the moment he allegedly misrepresented information to his insurer,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi. “We are alleging that he made several misrepresentations with the intent of receiving a hefty sum that he did not deserve.”
NJM rejected Ciardi’s claim for a total roof replacement after concluding that he had not made the required repairs after Superstorm Sandy, thus compromising the integrity of the roof. Ciardi maintained that the work had indeed been done, saying that the reason it appeared no repairs had been completed was because the purported “new shingles” had been stained to look like the old ones. It is alleged that some weeks after those conversations with NJM, Ciardi had repairs made to the roof that would have been akin to those NJM had approved for a claim following Superstorm Sandy.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.
“What this indictment alleges is that the defendant has proven himself to be dishonest, going to great lengths to try and bilk his insurance company of thousands of dollars following Superstorm Sandy,” Hoffman said. “Throughout the claims process, the defendant had many chances to come clean, but chose instead to continue the fraud, we are alleging.”
Deputy Attorney General Michael Locke presented the case to the grand jury. Detective Brian Bunn, Lieutenant Frederic Moore, and Detective Eric Flickinger coordinated the investigation.