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May 13, 10

NEWS / Cumberland County Man Charged with Setting Fire to His Aunts Automobile in Order to Obtain Insurance

TRENTON - Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Division of Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that a Cumberland County man has been indicted for allegedly conspiring to commit arson and insurance fraud by setting fire to his auntís automobile.

According to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Riza Dagli, Kristopher Wynder, 20, of Vineland, was charged yesterday (May 12) with second-degree conspiracy, second-degree aggravated arson, third-degree arson, third-degree insurance fraud and third-degree attempted theft by deception.

The Cumberland County grand jury indictment alleges that between July 28 and Aug. 4, 2008, Wynder conspired with his aunt, Cheryl Wynder, to obtain her 2002 Ford Explorer, take it to a remote location in Vineland, and set fire to the vehicle with the purpose of collecting insurance proceeds for the vehicle. It is alleged that Wynder carried out the conspiracy by taking the Explorer to ďThe Blue HoleĒ adjacent to Oak Road in Vineland, setting fire to the Explorer and recklessly placing other persons, including fire personnel from the Vineland Fire Department, in danger.

The indictment also alleges that Wynder was an accomplice to his aunt submitting a fraudulent vehicle theft insurance claim and attempting to collect claims money by reinforcing the false impression that the Explorer had been stolen, knowing that it had not.

Cheryl Wynder pleaded guilty in May 2009 to insurance fraud and was subsequently sentenced to five years probation, and ordered to pay $8,531 in restitution and a $5,000 civil insurance fraud fine.

Detective Terrence Buie, Civil Investigator Robert Overton and Deputy Attorney General Paul D. Santangini were assigned to the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Santangini presented the case to the Cumberland County Grand Jury. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Dagli thanked the Vineland Police Department and the New Jersey State Police, Bridgeton Barracks, for their assistance in this investigation.

The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 5 years in State prison and a criminal fine of $15,000.




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