For Immediate Release
December 14, 2011
Catherine L. Bernhard, Senior Assistant Attorney General
Insurance Fraud Unit Prosecutor
Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau
(603) 271-2898 or (603) 271-7973 x 235
Attorney General Michael A. Delaney and Insurance Commissioner Roger A. Sevigny announced today the conviction of Jason Joyce of Hudson, NH for the crime of insurance application fraud. On December 14, 2011, a hearing was held at the Hillsborough County Superior Court for the Southern District at which Mr. Joyce pleaded guilty to one Class A misdemeanor of insurance application fraud against Farm Family Casualty Company ("Farm Family"). As part of the negotiated plea, Mr. Joyce received a 12 month House of Corrections sentence suspended for one year upon continued good behavior and payment of restitution to Farm Family in an amount of $1,829.50.
On the morning of November 13, 2009, Mr. Joyce was working in the Concord, NH area picking up pallets for use in his business, Allwood Recycling. His associate was at the business site operating a woodchopper to grind pallets into wooden material used use primarily to make fuel products. At approximately 10:26 a.m., the Hudson, NH Fire Department received a 911 call from Mr. Joyce's associate seeking assistance. He reported that the woodchopper caught fire while it was in use. He said that the fire spread quickly and was out of control. Mr. Joyce's associate next telephoned Mr. Joyce to inform him of the fire. The cell phone records of Mr. Joyce and his associate obtained during the investigation by the NH Insurance Department documented three phone calls from the associate to Mr. Joyce and four phone calls from Mr. Joyce to his associate between 10:27 a.m. and 12:34 p.m.
At some time before 12:30 p.m. Mr. Joyce drove to his insurance agent's office in Derry, New Hampshire. Mr. Joyce knew that the insurance policy covering the woodchopper lapsed on October 28, 2009. When he arrived at the insurance agency, Mr. Joyce spoke with his agent and asked to reinstate his insurance policy on the woodchopper. He did not tell the agent that the woodchopper was involved with a fire at that time. Because there was a lapse in the insurance coverage from October 28, 2009 through November 13, 2009, Mr. Joyce was required to sign a statement of no loss form as part of the application process. The statement certified that during the time period when no insurance was in place, the woodchopper had suffered no loss, accident or other circumstance that might give rise to a claim under the insurance policy. At the time he signed the statement of no loss, Mr. Joyce knew that the fire department had been called to his business to extinguish a serious fire in the woodchopper. As a result of the fire, the woodchopper very badly damaged. Mr. Joyce filed an insurance claim for the damages but after an investigation, the claim was denied. The matter was investigated by the New Hampshire Insurance Department as a suspicious claim. Mr. Joyce's false statement during the application process was discovered during the NH Insurance Department investigation of the claim.
The prosecution is the result of collaboration between the Attorney General's Office and the NH Insurance Department Fraud Unit. The Fraud Unit was formed under RSA 417 to investigate and prosecute Insurance Fraud and other insurance-related criminal activity with the assistance of the NH Department of Justice.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301