A Superior Court judge wants to know why a prosecutor presented “misinformation” to a grand jury, which ultimately indicted an Elizabeth cop on insurance fraud charges about three years ago after she filed suit against her police department.
Union County prosecutors alleged that Alana Velazquez, who became a cop in 2010, used her supplemental AFLAC insurance to receive $8,600 for an on-duty injury, but the policy did not cover on-the-job-injuries. She was charged in 2017 with insurance fraud, theft by deception, and three counts of uttering a forged document — about a year after she filed suit claiming racial discrimination.
Her attorney, Joshua McMahon, asked Friday to have the indictment dismissed because he claimed Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Rosenthal did not explain to the grand jury that her policy could’ve covered on-the-job injuries. Rosenthal was unsure if he redacted the policy numbers when he presented evidence to the grand jury too.
Rosenthal said he didn’t realize Velazquez initially filed her claim with a policy that could’ve provided coverage for on-the-job injuries until McMahon pointed it out almost three years later. He used words like “inadvertently” in court filings that were read aloud in response to McMahon’s claims.
“But inadvertently, apparently, doesn’t apply to my Black female police officer here,” McMahon said. “I just wanted to point out that juxtaposition.”
Grand jury proceedings are generally conducted privately with a prosecutor as a stop-gap to make sure a person was rightfully charged with a crime before it proceeds to trial.
Rosenthal, meanwhile, said it ultimately did not matter if that information was presented to a grand jury. Although her policy gave the option for customers to have their coverage apply to on or off-duty injuries, she did not check the boxes saying she wanted coverage for both. Coverage for both on