Metuchen woman sentenced for bilking health insurance fund

 Catarina Young Catarina Young METUCHEN — A borough woman is set to spend seven years in prison after being convicted of stealing more than

400,000 from a health insurance trust fund, according to Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman.

Catarina Young, 48, was the primary owner and operator of a now-defunct, third-party insurance administrator, Elite Benefits Corp., in Middlesex County. She took the money from a trust fund that administered health insurance policies and prescription coverage for hundreds of employees and their families.

“Young stole nearly a half-a-million dollars through a scheme that blatantly disregarded the welfare of more than 1,000 employees and their families by leaving them without much-needed health care coverage,” Hoffman said. “Such criminal conduct will not be tolerated in the state of New Jersey.”

Young’s sentencing took place Jan. 9 before Superior Court Judge Dennis Nieves in Middlesex County.

She was convicted by a Middlesex County jury of second-degree theft by unlawful taking and second-degree misapplication of entrusted property or property of government or financial institution after a five-week trial before Nieves.

The charges were contained in a Dec. 15, 2011, grand jury indictment obtained by Deputy

Attorney General T.J. Harker.

Elite Benefits administered insurance plans on behalf of third parties, including the Multi-Skilled Employees & Employer Welfare Trust Fund, an organization consisting of several union employers and hundreds of employees.

By convicting Young, the Middlesex County jury determined that between Nov. 17, 2003, and Dec. 26, 2006, Young, as fiduciary of the fund, deposited 86 checks and 16 wire transfers totaling $462,341 belonging to the fund into her personal bank accounts and subsequently used these stolen proceeds for her own purposes.

The stolen monies were supposed to be used to purchase health insurance coverage and prescription coverage from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and Benecard, respectively. The theft resulted in the cancellation of a health insurance plan that insured more than 1,000 working people and their families.