4 Lessons from NJ Man Charged with Faking a Slip and Fall and Filing an Insurance Claim
A recent news headline concerns a NJ man who allegedly faked a slip and fall accident in a New Jersey business and filed an insurance claim to recover money. Believe it or not, as Jack Palance used to say on the 1980's Ripley's television show, there are at least 4 important lessons tp learn.
FACTSAccording to the Middlesex County Prosecutor, Andrew Carey, Alexander Goldinsky, 57, of Randolph was charged with one count of insurance fraud in the third degree and one count of theft by deception in the third degree for fraudulently filing an insurance claim in a fake slip and fall he orchestrated at a company in Woodbridge.
According to Carey, Goldinsky is an independent contractor who operates under the company name All Gold Industries. When the incident occurred Goldinsky was subcontracted to perform work at a company in Woodbridge.
Goldinsky was arrested on January 15, 2019 following an investigation by Detective Sean Sullivan of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. It was determined that between September 1, 2018 and November 1, 2018, Goldinsky filed a false insurance claim for the ambulance service and treatment he received at a local hospital for injuries he claimed he sustained at a business located in Woodbridge Township.
According to the Prosecutor, the investigation revealed that Goldinsky purposely threw the ice on the floor in the cafeteria at his workplace, placed himself on the ground, and waited until he was discovered.
LESSON #1: Filing a Fake Insurance Claim is a CrimeInsurance fraud is a serious a crime and New Jersey has some of the nation’s toughest insurance fraud laws. Under New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 2C:21-4.6, an insurance fraud offense occurs when someone knowingly omits a material fact or makes a false or misleading statement to an insurance company. In New Jersey insurance fraud is a crime and is considered a third-degree felony.
There are many different types of insurance fraud, all of which constitute a crime under New Jersey Law. While the list of insurance fraud claims is long, below are some of the most common claims that attorneys and prosecutors encounter.
Car accidents (rear end collisions, etc.) scams
False Worker’s Compensation claims
Arson or other property damage
False disability claims
Home repair fraud
Bogus injury claims
Stolen car scams
Stolen high value property claims (collectables, jewelry)
Unnecessary medical procedures
If you are caught committing insurance fraud, you will likely be charged with a felony, which will make life very difficult for you moving forward. Even if you think it is something small, or something that you can get away with – don’t. It doesn’t matter is your next-door neighbor has been scamming worker’s compensation for a year or two, don’t you do it.
LESSON #2: We Are All Stars on the Truman ShowFor those of you who like movies as much as I do, you may recall the 1998 film, the Truman Show, staring Jim Carey. In the film, Carey's character was followed by hidden cameras 24-hours per day. Unbeknownst to the main character, the cameras tracked and broadcast his every move. (I'm not going to spoil the movie so let's leave it at that.)
Today, we find ourselves under constant surveillance. Advances in technology has made security cameras a fraction of the price they were 10 years ago. Businesses and consumers can purchase video doorbells and "cloud" cameras to place in the home or office, not to mention the fact that just about everyone who has a smartphone is carrying around a small video production studio.
The fact is that 9 times out of 10 you are being filmed/recorded when you are at a business, an ATM, shopping, driving, and even walking down the street. If you plan on doing something illegal, chances are you will be on film somewhere.
Realizing that you are being recorded is an important realization for everyone, not just for would-be criminals and scam artists. Parents need to teach the children from a young age that video surveillance is a part of life and that one mistake can have a negative impact on their adult lives. Teens who think it might be a fun prank to vandalize a building or steal a package from someone’s front door could end up caught on video and in the future, find themselves explaining the situation to a potential employer during an interview.
Without getting all “Big Brother” (the Orwell classic 1984, not the reality show) about it, it is a good rule of thumb to act when you are in public as if you could be being recorded. To quote George Orwell in 1984, “If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” Bottom line is don’t be stupid, people are likely watching.
LESSON #3: There is No Shortcut to SuccessSince the dawn of time, people have worked tirelessly to build success in their lives. Those who have found success have worked hard, suffered, endured and never stopped pushing forward. While “get rich quick” schemes (like fake accidents and insurance claims) have always been a part of modern society, the fact is they don’t last and often backfire. Just ask Bernie Madoff.
There are no shortcuts to success. Anyone who tells you otherwise is likely trying to build their own success by selling you a book or training course on how to get rich without even trying. I’m going to say it again, success requires hard, perseverance, and consistent effort.
So, if you think that you can make money or build lasting success by a scam, scheme, or other lazy tactic, you will be sorely disappointed and may even end up broke or in jail. There is no substitute for hard work.
I think that the point about hard work needs to be hammered into everyone who dreams of being an entrepreneur; especially, the younger generations. I can’t tell you how many young people have to my office with dreams of being a YouTube celebrity only to realize that it takes far more than uploading a few videos. When they realize that it is a business and that they need to operate their YouTube career as such, 90% of them say, “Oh, but that seems like a lot of work.” Yes, it is a lot of work and if you think that there is an easy way to make money or to become successful, you are living in a dream world!
LESSON #4: Social Media Can Make You Infamous within 24 HoursBefore the dawn of social media a news story like the one about Mr. Goldinsky would be confined to a local or regional area. Someone accused of committing a crime could keep things “quiet” if you will, if they went looking for a job in a neighboring area. Let me give you a pop culture reference.
One of my favorite shows growing up was the 1978 television series, the Incredible Hulk staring Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, David Banner (a.k.a. the Hulk), who was presumed dead, traveled from town-to-town trying to find a cure for his gamma radiation exposure which caused him to morph into the Hulk. At the same time he wanted to live a simple life without being too visible. Keep in mind that reporter, Jack McGee, was always hot on his trail trying to prove that the Hulk was a menace.
Despite the fact that McGee always seemed to catch up with the Hulk he was never able to capture him, as Banner was always able to elude him and find work in each new town he traveled to. How was he able to keep running without being caught? How did he mange to keep getting jobs? Simple, there was no social media in 1978.
Imagine what would have happened to poor David Banner if Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other modern social platforms has existed. He likely would have been captured within a week, (which would not have made for good television), or at the least, not offered a job anywhere.
The point is that in our current social media driven society, local or regional news stories rapidly become spread worldwide via the Internet. Just do a quick Google search for “Alexander Goldinsky” and you will find hundreds of stories from all over the country about this alleged crime. So, keep in mind, what you do and how you act can make you infamous in a matter of hours.
CONCLUSIONSurprisingly, there is a lot that we can learn from this story. Even if you never would dream of committing insurance fraud, it is important to understand the fact that hard work is the key to success, that Big Brother is watching, and that you are one foolish act away from becoming the next infamous Internet sensation.