A man with long-haul trucking companies based in Middlesex County was sentenced to nine years in state prison today for allegedly filing more than $1.2 million in false claims for refrigerated cargo purportedly spoiled in cross-country transport.
Palm Coast, Florida resident Alexei Legassov, 55, also must pay $1,286,911 in restitution to two insurance companies under the sentence handed down by Superior Court Judge Benjamin Bucca, Jr., according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
In January, Legassov pleaded guilty to second-degree insurance fraud and misconduct by a corporate official. The charges stem from crimes Legassov allegedly committed in connection with several long-haul trucking companies he owned or operated in Middlesex County, including Akmos Trade Limited, Moon and Eggplant Limited, Passing Score LLC, and G.K. Refrigerated Line, LLC.
Between July 2012 and May 2017, under the guise of his various cargo hauling companies, Legassov allegedly submitted more than a dozen fraudulent insurance claims for losses he claimed he incurred when truck refrigeration units broke down in transport, damaging or destroying fruits, vegetables, frozen cakes and other refrigerated goods. In reality, the cargo never existed or had not been damaged or destroyed, according to officials.
“Cargo fraud has a trickle-down effect that impacts everyone. It drives up insurance premiums for honest trucking companies, which increases the cost of transporting food. As a result, we all pay higher prices at the grocery store,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “The significant prison sentence this defendant received should serve as a deterrent to other business owners tempted to illegally pad their bottom line by cheating carriers that insure cargo vital to commerce.”
To support his fraudulent claims for losses, Legassov allegedly submitted fabricated invoices and other falsified documents to his insurance carriers. He was ordered to pay $1,189,727.39 in restitution to Harleysville Insurance Company, which has now merged with Nationwide Insurance Company. He also must pay $97,183.54 in restitution to the American International Group.
Citizens who are concerned about insurance cheating and have a tip about an act of fraud can report it anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting the Web site at www.NJInsurancefraud.org. State regulations permit a reward to be paid to an eligible person who provides information that leads to an arrest, prosecution and conviction for insurance fraud.