Iselin body-shop owner admits insurance fraud

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An Iselin body shop owner pleaded guilty to theft charges Thursday, admitting to defrauding insurance companies and other businesses out of nearly $52,000 by submitting phony receipts for parts.

Under a plea deal struck with the state Attorney General’s Office, Divyakant Patel, 46, will be sentenced to probation and ordered to pay full restitution. He pleaded guilty to theft by deception before Superior Court Judge Frederick DeVesa in Superior Court, New Brunswick.

If convicted at trial, he would have faced up to five years in prison on the charge.

Patel, the owner of J&R Body Masters in Perth Amboy, admitted that he bilked companies out of $51,946 between November 2006 and May 2010.

Patel submitted phony parts invoices with bills for payment to companies, such as Liberty Mutual Insurance and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, to falsely show parts were purchased from actual vendors.

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