Pleasantville police officer stole health benefits and cell phone, prosecutor says
A Pleasantville police officer has been charged with multiple counts including health insurance fraud and theft.
Juan Forero, 34, became a police officer in January 2015, and signed up for health insurance for him and his wife, Haydee Forero.
But while Officer Forero showed proof that he and Haydee were married in 2006, he failed to disclose that the couple divorced in 2011, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said.
In the two years that followed, Blue Cross Blue Shield paid more than $90,000 toward the woman’s health care, which would have cost her about $320,000 out of pocket. It cost the city of Pleasantville about $21,000 to pay for her premiums.
Forero also allegedly stole an iPhone 7 Plus from the cart of a Somers Point ShopRite shopper while there with his former wife earlier this year.
Somers Point detectives were called to the supermarket April 26, to investigate the theft.
Surveillance video showed a male, later identified as Juan Forero, take the phone from a shopping cart. He was accompanied by a female later identified as Haydee Forero.
Juan Forero was subsequently identified as a Pleasantville police officer, which is when the Pleasantville Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Official Corruption Unit took over the investigation.
It was then that the Foreros’ divorce was discovered.
Further investigation also found that Forero engaged in similar behavior while employed by AtlantiCare prior to becoming a police officer. During that time period, AtlantiCare incurred about $4,000 in costs associated with coverage for her.
“While I am saddened to confirm that one of our officers has been charged with criminal conduct, I am also reassured to report that the internal affairs process has worked as intended and in solid coordination between our Pleasantville police investigators and Prosecutor Tyner’s investigators,” Pleasantville Police Chief Sean Riggin said. “I am confident in the findings of the investigation and we will move to separate the officer accordingly. The Pleasantville Police Department cannot and will not accept unethical conduct by our officers and will take swift action to investigate all claims of misconduct by members of the Pleasantville Police Department.”
Riggin also posted the release on the department’s Facebook page “because we believe it is just as important to share our failures as it is our successes,” he wrote.
Forero was placed on administrative leave during the investigation, and is now suspended without pay following the criminal charges.
He is charged with theft by unlawful taking, unsworn falsification to authorities, insurance fraud, second-degree theft by deception, and two counts each of theft by deception and health care claims fraud.