CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. -- A hotel manager from Cliffside Park used various scams to steal $1 million from his boss -- including a $600,000 insurance annuity -- that he used, in part, to buy properties in Englewood Cliffs that he then flipped for profit, a grand jury charged.
Vikas Mehta, 43, worked in what was then a Ramada (now Fairbridge) Inn in Wayne owned by a Long Island businessman.
While there, he learned that of the annuity with Prudential, authorities said.
In January and February of 2013, Mehta "used his boss’s personal information to arrange to have the annuity cashed out via the phone and have the check delivered by Fed Ex to a place where he could intercept it," Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said in a release Thursday.
Mehta "deposited the check into his own account and then disbursed the proceeds into accounts that were closed a short time later."
His boss discovered the loss much later and reported it to Prudential officials, who alerted state authorities.
Detectives with New Jersey's Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor found more stolen money during their subsequent investigation, Porrino said.
In April 2013, he said, Mehta arranged for two payments to be released from an IRA account held by his boss with Securities America, Inc. -- for $185,000 and the other for $100,000.
Both times, he forged IRA distribution forms for the payments, which were made by wire transfers into a Bank of New Jersey corporate account belonging to Mehta.
Three months later, Mehta stole a $205,385 check issued by American Security Insurance Company to settle an insurance claim Mehta’s boss made on a rental home that burned down, the indictment charges.
Mehta’s boss’s wife had endorsed the check and given it to him to obtain the additional endorsement from the mortgage company that held the lien on the house, it says.
Mehta instead endorsed the lien holder’s signature and deposited the check into an NGCS LLC corporate account with Chase Bank, the indictment charges.
The indictment accuses Mehta of money laundering, identity theft, theft by unlawful taking and forgery.
Deputy Attorney General Dennis Kwasnik presented the case to the grand jury.
Detective Keith Franco coordinated the investigation with assistance from Sgt. Audrey Young, Porrino said. Investigators with Prudential Ins. Co. and Securities America also assisted in the investigation, he said.
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