- Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced
that a former Essex County resident who now
lives in Burlington County has pleaded guilty
to falsely reporting his car stolen and subsequently
collecting more than $9,000 in insurance proceeds.
Thelusma, 30, formerly of Irvington who
now resides in Willingboro, pleaded guilty
yesterday (March 12) to third-degree theft
by deception before Superior Court Judge
Michael A. Petrolle in Essex County. The
charge was contained in an Essex County
grand jury indictment returned on December
Petrolle scheduled sentencing for April
25. Under the plea agreement, the state
will recommend a sentence of five years
of probation. New Jersey law provides that
there is a presumption against any sentence
of incarceration for a person convicted
of a third-degree crime who has not previously
been convicted of an indictable offense.
Thelusma will be ordered to pay $9,625 in
restitution to GEICO Indemnity Company.
Thelusma also agreed to pay a $5,000 civil
pleading guilty, Thelusma admitted that
on Dec. 5, 2006 he reported to the Irvington
Police Dept. and to his auto insurance carrier,
GEICO, that his 2002 BMW 325 had been stolen,
when, in fact, he had hidden the car in
a private garage. A number of months after
the insurance claim had been paid, police
learned that the car was parked in the garage
and the vehicle was discovered.
Deputy Attorney General Geraldine D. Zidow,
Detective Cortney Lawrence and Civil Investigator
David Whitaker were assigned to the investigation.
Zidow represented the state at the guilty
plea hearing. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
Ronald Chillemi thanked GEICO Indemnity
Company and the Irvington Police Department
for their assistance in the investigation.