Hazlet Fire Commissioner Sentenced to Five Years for Theft and Fraud

Anthony Ciavarro admitted to stealing money intended for widows of fellow firemen, the county prosecutor says.

A Hazlet Fire Commissioner who admitted to stealing $30,000 in death benefits from widows of deceased firemen was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday.

Anthony Ciavarro, 45, of Hazlet, N.J., was sentenced today to a five-year prison
term for the crimes of theft by deception and insurance fraud, Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter E. Warshaw, Jr. announced. Ciavarro pleaded guilty to the charges on October 28, 2011 before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Francis P. DeStefano, who also imposed the sentence.

Between July and October 2009, Ciavarro, in his role as Fire Commissioner, took about $30,000 in death benefit payments that widows of deceased firemen were supposed to receive through the Fire Districts Benefit Program, according to the Prosecutor's office.

On various occasions, Ciavarro said he sent forged documents to the insurance company that handled the underwriting for the life insurance policies held by deceased firefighters. The forged paperwork fraudulently changed the beneficiaries designated by numerous firemen to Ciavarro himself, who collected beneficiary payments once the life insurance policies were paid after firemens’ deaths, said the Prosecutor.

New Jersey law establishes mandatory minimum prison terms for public
employees convicted of certain crimes, Ciavarro’s sentence also includes a two-year period of parole ineligibility. The sentence also requires Ciavarro to make full restitution to victims of his crimes, and to permanently forfeit his ability to hold public office.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Andrew S. Fried of the Office’s
Special Prosecutions Bureau. Defense Counsel: Sarah Surgent, Esq., Freehold.


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