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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
November 14, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director
Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
- Greta Gooden Brown, Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

 

Rachel Sacharow
609-984-1936

 

Union County Mother and Son Charged
with $7,000 Auto Insurance Theft Scam


TRENTON - Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy announced that the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has obtained an indictment charging a Union County mother and son with insurance fraud for their roles in a $7,000 auto insurance theft scam.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Maria R. Kernizan, 48, of Madison Avenue, Elizabeth, Union County, and her son, Loubert Barthelemy, 29, of Pearl Street, Elizabeth, were charged with conspiracy, attempted theft by deception, and insurance fraud (all 3rd degree). If convicted of all charges, each defendant faces up to 15 years in state prison and a fine of up to $45,000. In addition, the defendants face the imposition of civil insurance fraud fines.

The Union County Grand Jury indictment alleges that between Dec. 9, 2002 and Oct.17, 2003, Kernizan, and Barthelemy conspired to submit a phony automobile theft loss claim to Clarendon National Insurance Company. It is charged that Kernizan reported her 1993 Toyota 4-Runner stolen to the New York Police Department on Jan. 16, 2003 and subsequently submitted a $7,000 claim to the Clarendon National Insurance Company, stating that she last saw her the automobile in Elizabeth on Dec. 31, 2002. According to the indictment, the defendants told police that Barthelemy had driven the Toyota to his aunt’s house in Brooklyn on Dec. 31 and parked the car on the street. It is charged that Barthelemy also told police that he was sick for a week and therefore stayed inside his aunt’s residence. Barthelemy allegedly claimed that when he went to get the Toyota on Jan. 7, 2003, it was gone.

An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that the New York Department of Sanitation tagged the vehicle as a derelict or abandoned vehicle in the Bronx on December 25, 2002.

State Investigator Wendy Wylie, Civil Investigator Joseph Burro and Deputy Attorney General Frank L. Holstein were assigned to the investigation. DAG Holstein represented the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor before the Union County Grand Jury. The case was referred to the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor by the Clarendon Insurance Company after the claim was denied.

An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until the State proves them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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