YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former claims manager for the N.J. Turnpike Authority admitted in federal court in Newark today that he hatched a scheme that led to the theft of more than $1.5 million from the authority and various insurance companies.
With the help of representatives from two New Jersey-based insurance companies, 55-year-old Gerardo A. Blasi of Clifton said, he inflated the costs to repair damage motorists did to NJTA property.
The inflated claims were submitted to the motorists’ insurance companies from May 2009 until June of this year, Blasi said. The payouts were then directed through the mail to the one of the adjustors instead of to the NJTA.
After payments for the actual costs were given to the NJTA, Blasi said, he and his conspirators split what was left.
Despite a NJTA policy of not attempting to recover on damages caused by motorists who died from accidents on the Turnpike, Blasi continued to process those claims — and split the entire amount with his co-conspirators, the government said.
U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty set sentencing for March 19 following today’s plea.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited special agents from the FBI with the investigation and thanked the N.J. Turnpike Authority for its assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Foster of Fishman’s Special Prosecutions Division handled the plea.
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