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Middlesex County Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing Nearly $170,000

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TRENTON – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a Middlesex County woman has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $170,000 by falsifying invoices that she sent to an insurance company regarding out-of-pocket expenses she purportedly incurred for in-home healthcare services provided to her ailing husband.

Loreta Fontanilla, 72, of Piscataway, pleaded guilty on Friday (May 31) to second-degree theft by deception before Superior Court Judge Joseph Paone in Middlesex County. The charge was contained in a Dec. 14, 2012 state grand jury indictment.

Judge Paone scheduled sentencing for Sept. 16. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Fontanilla be sentenced to three years in state prison.

In pleading guilty, Fontanilla admitted that between January 2005 and December 2010, she stole $169,900 by submitting 71 falsified independent care provider monthly invoices to the MetLife Insurance Company (“MetLife”) for health care services purportedly provided to her husband. An investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Fontanilla substantially overstated the amount of hours of nursing care provided to her husband as well as the amount that she paid the nurses for the care.

Deputy Attorney General T.J. Harker, Detective Wendy Berg and Analyst Kelly Celenza coordinated the investigation. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi thanked MetLife for referring the matter to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and for its assistance in the investigation.