N.J. Auto Mechanic, Wife Pulled Over in Fraud Scam

February 4, 2005

New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn McKoy announced that the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has obtained an indictment charging a Burlington County couple with theft for making a false insurance claim resulting from a burglary at their auto repair garage.

According to McKoy and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Al Bernat, 49, and his wife, Lindsey Bernat, 42, both of Medford, Burlington County, were charged with theft by deception (3rd degree).

Al Bernat was the owner and operator of A&F Auto Repair, located on North Maple Avenue, Marlton, Burlington County. If convicted, each defendant faces up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Additionally, each faces the possibility of the imposition of civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act.

The Burlington County Grand Jury indictment, returned on Jan. 27, alleges that between Aug. 19, 2001 and April 9, 2002, the Bernat’s submitted a burglary insurance claim for more than $12,500 to Ohio Casualty Insurance Company. The burglary had occurred between Aug. 17 and Aug. 19, 2001.

In the claim, the Bernat’s were seeking, and ultimately received, compensation of more than $4,000 for a scanner and a KV module that had allegedly been stolen.

An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that the equipment had not been stolen, but actually concealed by Bernat in order to obtain the insurance money.

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