TRENTON – Kim Bogan, daughter of former mayor Joseph Scarpelli, was sentenced to five years in state prison for stealing almost $1 million from the township, according to a press release by the Attorney General and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.
Bogan, 52, of Brick, worked in the Building Department when she assisted a New York chiropractor in filing false claims to her employee health insurance program. The claims were for treatments rendered to people covered by her policy. The claims were filed between January of 2011 and April of 2017.
The fraudulent charges were made out to her brother, Dr. Glenn Scarpelli, a chiropractor. He and his wife committed suicide in 2017.
Eleven years ago, on Jan. 8, 2007, her father, Joseph Scarpelli, admitted in court to taking bribes. He had been mayor for a few terms.
In October, she pleaded guilty to theft by deception, a second degree crime. As part of her sentencing, she must also pay back the $941,354.77 in restitution to the township under a plea agreement and sentence imposed by Superior Court Judge Linda G. Baxter in Ocean County.
“I’m glad the judge imposed a five year sentence on somebody who stole from the taxpayers,” current Mayor John Ducey said.
Brick has a self-funded insurance program, meaning that the money was stolen from the “pockets and wallets of her neighbors,” Ducey said, not the insurance company.
He said he believes she made a $5,000 payment this morning in restitution, but he is not feeling confident that the township will ever be made whole. However, hopefully it tells people not to even try stealing from their town.
The red flags of her behavior first went up when employees noticed a large sum being paid for chiropractic services, he said. This was unusual since the township has a wellness program designed to reduce injuries and services. Further investigation revealed that the services were supposedly rendered out of state, and all to one employee, and it all added up to fraud.
“This defendant is going to prison for willingly participating in a health care claims scheme that cost Brick Township taxpayers – her own friends and neighbors – nearly a million dollars,” said Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino in a press release. “Her sentence sends a message that stealing money from health care plans is a serious crime with serious consequences, no matter what role you play in the illegal plot.”
“Through her illegal acts, the defendant stole taxpayer dollars meant to cover health care services for township employees. In addition to serving time in prison, she will be responsible for repaying those stolen funds,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu in the press release. “We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute individuals who commit these kind of health care claims crimes.”
Deputy Attorney General Thomas G. Tresansky, Jr. represented the State at sentencing, according to the press release. Steven Secare, Esq., of Secare & Hensel, represented Bogan at sentencing. Detectives Cortney Lawrence and Jared England coordinated the investigation.
Porrino thanked Brick Township Administrator Joanne Bergin, as well as the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Special Investigations Unit for their assistance in the investigation.
Although this case came to a head due to a municipal investigation, Iu noted that anonymous tips have led to charges as well. Tips can be offered at 877-55-FRAUD, or at NJInsurancefraud.org. Rewards can be paid to an eligible person who provides information that leads to an arrest, prosecution and conviction for insurance fraud.