N.J. Woman Sentenced for Auto ‘Give Up’ and Arson Conspiracy

January 18, 2006

New Jersey Criminal Justice Director Vaughn McKoy reported that a Cumberland County woman has been sentenced for her role in an automobile insurance “give up” and arson conspiracy.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Sandra I. Rodriguez, 39, of Vineland, Cumberland County, was ordered by Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Timothy Farrell to serve one year probation and to pay a $5,000 civil insurance fraud fine. Rodriguez was sentenced pursuant to her guilty plea to 3rd degree arson with purpose to collect insurance proceeds pursuant to an Cumberland County Grand Jury indictment returned on July 20, 2005.

At the Nov. 28 guilty plea before Judge Farrell, Rodriguez reportedly admitted that between April 12 and July 5, 2003, she conspired to dispose of a 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier and submit a false automobile insurance theft claim worth more than $15,000 to Rutgers Casualty Insurance Company.

Rodriguez admitted that she falsely reported to the Vineland Police Department that her Chevrolet Cavalier had been stolen. Rodriquez also reported the purported theft to Rutgers Casualty Insurance Company. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Rodriguez’s nephew, Jonathan Rodriguez, took the Chevrolet Cavalier from Sandra Rodriguez and set it on fire in Buena Vista Township, Atlantic County.

The car was found by the New Jersey State Police less than two hours after it was initially reported stolen. The investigation further determined that the steering column was damaged and the ignition had been tampered with. It was evident that the car had been doused with gasoline and set on fire.

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