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Tuesday, 20 October 2015 23:09

Four NJ Residents Charged with Staging Accident, Seeking More Than $48,000 in Insurance Payout

Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) announced on October 15 that a Union County man and three others were indicted for allegedly orchestrating a staged automobile accident in Paterson in 2012 and later seeking more than $48,000 in medical payouts from his insurer.

Jonathan Desir

Jonathan Desir, 22


Jonathan L. Desir, 22, of Elizabeth, Makenson Clermont, 34, of Irvington, Jhonny Volmire, 26, of Newark, and Jana B. Philippe, 32, of Irvington all were charged by a state grand jury with second-degree health care claims fraud, second-degree conspiracy, and third-degree attempted theft by deception for their alleged parts in the scam. Additionally Desir and Clermont were charged with second-degree insurance fraud, second-degree conspiracy, and third-degree theft by deception for allegedly agreeing to share the cost of the insurance policy then stage a bogus accident to split the claim payout. Desir, Clermont, and Philippe were also charged with fourth-degree false swearing for fraudulent statements they allegedly made to investigators.

The indictment, handed up in Superior Court, alleges that Clermont, Volmire, and an unknown female were in Desir’s Honda Civic when he intentionally drove the car into another vehicle. Neither the other driver, nor the occupants of Desir’s car were hurt and the damage to both vehicles was minimal, according to the indictment. Subsequently, the three men and Philippe, who assumed the role of the unknown female passenger, each filed a claim for PIP benefits with Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and received medical treatment for their alleged injuries, according to the indictment.

Liberty Mutual paid Desir’s $5,736 collision claim, but refused to pay the $48,550 in claims submitted by health care providers. The insurance company referred the matter to the OIFP which launched an investigation.

“Attempting to cheat insurance companies through staged automobile accidents, as these co-conspirators allegedly tried to do, is both dangerous and costly,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “These individuals not only put themselves at risk through their alleged scam, they put innocent pedestrians and other drivers at risk as well.”

“Law-abiding drivers bear the cost of staged accidents and bogus claims through increased insurance premiums,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi. “As long as there are people looking to make a quick buck by scamming insurance companies, drivers cannot participate in a fair marketplace.”

Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000; third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi noted that some important cases have started with anonymous tips. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have information about a fraud can report it anonymously by calling the toll free hotline at 1-877-55- FRAUD, or visiting the Web site at

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