New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that a Camden County man has pled guilty to criminal charges of arson for hire for arranging to have his vehicle set on fire in order to collect insurance money.
According to Vaughn McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Joseph A. Cirino, Jr., 32, of Camden County, pled guilty before Camden County Superior Court Judge Linda Baxter to a criminal Accusation which charged him with arson of property for purpose of collecting insurance proceeds (3rd degree). A third degree crime carries a sentence of up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Cirino may also face civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the civil Insurance Fraud Prevention Act. Cirino is scheduled to appear before Judge Baxter on Oct. 31 for sentencing.
At the Aug. 18 guilty plea hearing, Cirino reportedly admitted that on Nov. 2, 2002, he met Robert Halpin in the Berlin, Camden County, WalMart parking lot and gave him (Halpin) $500.00 cash and the keys to his 2000 Honda Accord.
The arrangement was reportedly for Halpin to take Cirino’s car to an undisclosed location and set it on fire in order that Cirino could discontinue lease payments and file a fraudulent insurance claim. Cirino reportedly admitted that he reported the vehicle stolen to police and submitted a stolen vehicle claim to the Allstate Insurance Company.
The investigation is continuing and further charges are anticipated.
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