TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Camden County car salesman has been indicted for his alleged role in a scheme to defraud, or attempt to defraud, two insurance companies of a total of more than $130,000 by reporting luxury vehicles stolen, even though he knew that the vehicles had been shipped to China. A Cherry Hill woman also was indicted for her alleged role in the scheme.
Steven Shore, 58, of Pennsauken, and Michele Yorgan, 43, of Cherry Hill, each were charged with second-degree conspiracy, second-degree insurance fraud, third-degree attempted theft by deception, and fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records. Shore was charged with additional counts of second-degree insurance fraud and third-degree theft by deception, while Yorgan was additionally charged with fourth-degree false swearing.
The defendants were arrested this morning at their residences.
"The defendants in this case allegedly ran a sophisticated scheme aimed at gaming the system by selling luxury vehicles overseas while also filing fraudulent stolen vehicle insurance claims here at home," Acting Attorney General Hoffman said. “This type of fraud affects honest New Jersey auto insurance purchasers, who already pay enough for insurance. They shouldn’t have to pay for scam artists as well.”
“Automobile insurance fraud is a big issue in New Jersey, which is why the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has made prosecuting these types of cases a priority,” Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi said.
The indictment alleges that between Oct. 3 and Dec. 19, 2012, Shore, a car salesman, stole $68,220 from Liberty Mutual Insurance Company by creating the false impression that a black 2013 Porsche Cayenne was stolen. An investigation determined that Shore purchased the Porsche on Oct. 3, 2012 and purchased an insurance policy for the vehicle the next day. It is alleged that on Nov. 28, 2012, Shore falsely notified the Pennsauken Police Department that the Porsche had been stolen from outside his residence and subsequently filed a claim with Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. On Dec. 17, 2012, Liberty Mutual paid Shore $68,220, after the car was declared a total loss. An investigation determined that Shore allegedly had shipped the Porsche, or caused the Porsche to be shipped, to China in October 2012.
The indictment alleges that Shore shipped the Porsche to China as part of a "grey market" automobile exporting scheme. Although the demand for luxury vehicles in the United States is high, the current demand in Asian markets is much higher. A new Porsche, for example, can be bought at a dealership in America for approximately $50,000 and sold in China for more than $140,000.
The indictment further alleges that between Oct. 3, 2012 and August 23, 2013, Shore and Yorgan attempted to steal $63,457 from Travelers Insurance Company by creating the false impression that a black 2013 Porsche Cayenne, purportedly belonging to Yorgan, had been stolen. Shore allegedly recruited Yorgan to file a fraudulent claim with Travelers Insurance Company, reporting that her car was stolen. This was a different vehicle than the one for which Shore allegedly filed a claim in November 2012. The indictment alleges that Shore and Yorgan falsely claimed that Shore had sold the vehicle to Yorgan for $65,000 on March 20, 2013. That day, Yorgan allegedly added the vehicle to her insurance policy, even though she was not in possession of the vehicle. It is alleged that on April 11, 2013, Yorgan falsely notified Travelers Insurance Company that “her” Porsche had been stolen the previous day. An investigation determined that Shore did not sell the vehicle to Yorgan on March 20, but actually shipped, or caused to be shipped, the Porsche to China in October 2012. Travelers Insurance denied the claim and referred the matter to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.
The Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor does not allege that the car dealership for which Shore worked was implicated in the alleged crimes or that Shore committed any of the alleged crimes in his capacity as a car salesman.
Deputy Attorney General Colin Keiffer, Sgt. Jarek Pyrzanowski and Detective Terrence Buie coordinated the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Keiffer presented the case to the state grand jury. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi thanked Travelers Insurance Company for referring the matter to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and for their assistance in the investigation.
The indictment, which was handed up yesterday, is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000 while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $10,000.