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Michael V. Pettigano, NorthJersey

PATERSON – A 45-year-old Paterson woman is accused of impersonating two people in an attempt to steal $175,000 from their insurance annuity policies, according to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

The suspect, Vashanta Stroud-Bennett, was charged with insurance fraud, theft by deception and impersonation in an indictment rendered by a state grand jury in Trenton on Monday, officials said in a news release.

Stroud-Bennett allegedly obtained personal identifying information about the two individuals and assumed their identities between July 23 and Aug. 1, 2017 in an attempt to obtain money from their insurance annuity policies, authorities said.

The Attorney General’s Office identified the two victims by their initials, “P.C.” and “L.C.” Authorities have not revealed if the suspect personally knew the two people, nor have they disclosed how she allegedly obtained their confidential information.

In the first case, authorities said, Stroud-Bennett allegedly impersonated “P.C.” in two withdrawal requests submitted to Voya Insurance and Annuity Company, also known as Voya Financial. The suspect allegedly attempted to make one withdrawal for $78,900 and another for $93,400 from the same insurance policy, authorities said.

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Stroud-Bennett obtained more than $75,000 from the account, according to the indictment.

In the second case, authorities said Stroud-Bennett allegedly impersonated “L.C.” in attempting to withdraw $22,000 from the victims’ annuity with Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.

The impersonation involved emails and phone conversations, authorities said.

Authorities suggested that anyone concerned about possible cases of insurance fraud should call the state’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visit www.njinsurancefraud.org.

Email: editor@patersonpress.com

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