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February 17, 11

NEWS / Cumberland County Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Set Ablaze His Aunts Automobile

TRENTON - Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Division of Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that a Cumberland County man pleaded guilty today to conspiring to set ablaze his auntís automobile so that she could collect insurance proceeds.

According to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Riza Dagli, Kristopher Wynder, 21, of Vineland, pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy to commit aggravated arson before Superior Court Judge David E. Krell in Cumberland County. Wynder was charged in a May 12, 2010 Cumberland County grand jury indictment.

Judge Krell scheduled sentencing for April 15. Under the plea agreement, the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will recommend that Wynder be sentenced to five years in state prison.

In pleading guilty, Wynder admitted that between July 28 and Aug. 4, 2008, he 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 so that Cheryl Wynder could collect insurance proceeds for the vehicle. Kristopher Wynder carried out the conspiracy by taking the Explorer to a sand pit adjacent to Oak Road in Vineland, setting fire to the Explorer, thereby recklessly placing other persons, including fire personnel from the Vineland Fire Department, in danger.

In pleading guilty, Wynder admitted that he and Cheryl Wynder entered into a conspiracy to dispose of her 2002 Ford Explorer and submit a fraudulent insurance claim since she was behind in her payments. As part of the overall conspiracy, Wynder set the vehicle on fire to destroy it, and to further the false impression that the Explorer had been stolen. For his part in the conspiracy, Wynder admitted he was to be paid $500.

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

Detective Terrence Buie and Deputy Attorney General Paul D. Santangini were assigned to the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Santangini represented the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the guilty plea hearing. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Dagli thanked the Vineland Police Department and the New Jersey State Police, Bridgeton Barracks, for their assistance in this investigation.




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