After a week long jury trial, James Wronko’s client was found not guilty of theft by deception and forgery by a Somerset County jury sitting in Somerville, New Jersey.
He was charged after an investigation by the Prudential Life Insurance Company regarding his fathers’ life insurance policy that was issued by the State of New Jersey - Division of Pensions and Benefits and administered by Prudential. The case was also investigated by the State of New Jersey Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s office.
A Forensic Document Examiner, Laura Mancebo, who was employed with Applied Forensics of East Meadow, New York, testified her handwriting analysis was that the signature on the change of beneficiary form, contained indications or evidence to suggest that the father did not sign his name.
Numerous family members and investigators with Prudential Insurance Company and Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office testified at the trial. The key issue was whether the client had been authorized by his father to change the designation of beneficiary form which made himself the sole beneficiary.
Mr. Wronko, elected to have his client testify and he said that he was simply following his fathers instructions and disbursed the life insurance proceeds to his grandchildren, according to his dad’s wishes.
Mr. Wronko successfully argued to the Jury that the State had not proven his client’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt as he had authority to change his father’s designation of beneficiary. The Jury agreed with him.