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Arrested in 160G cell-phone scam

Photo courtesy PCPO Peter Mancuso

Photo courtesy PCPO
Peter Mancuso

 

A Nutley man and two from Passaic residents were arrested last Thursday, Sept. 5, by U.S. Secret Service Agents and members of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office for allegedly running a scheme involving $160,000 in false cell-phone insurance claims, Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes announced.

The case against the accused will apparently be bolstered by one suspect’s Facebook page, on which he reportedly bragged about the scam.

Peter Mancuso, 43, of Nutley; Roger Davila, 32, and Ceasar Berrios, 26, both of Passaic, are all charged with engaging in a plot to submit fraudulent cell-phone loss claims to Asurion Insurance Services.

Using ficitious names, Mancuso and Davila submitted certified loss claims to Asurion, stating that cell phones were lost or stolen, authorities said. In return, the defendants reportedly received replacement cell phones.

Berrios took delivery of the replacements at a covert address, and the defendants then sold the devices over the internet, it is alleged. The prosecutor’s office said it was Davila who “boasted about the sales and other aspects of the scheme on his Facebook page.”

The three are accused of participating in the filing of more than $160,000 worth of fraudulent claims between December 2009 and August 2013. Mancuso, Davila and Berrios are each charged with: insurance fraud, theft by deception, trafficking in stolen goods, and conspiracy. Each charge carries the potential penalty of five to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison.

The arrests are the result of a year-long investigation by the Insurance Fraud Unit of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office and the Newark Field Office of the U.S. Secret Service.

The investigation is continuing. If you have any questions, please contact Chief Assistant Prosecutor McCann at (973) 837-7616 or jmccann@passaiccountynj.org.

Valdes’ office notes that a criminal complaint is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

–Karen Zautyk

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