N.J. Mom Keeps Auto Theft Scam a Family Affair; Son Also Charged

November 16, 2005

New Jersey Criminal Justice Director Vaughn 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 Elizabeth, Union County, and her son, Loubert Barthelemy, 29, of 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 Dec. 25, 2002.

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