NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 8, 2012

Husband and wife charged in insurance fraud

NEWBURYPORT — A local man will spend the next two years on probation following his guilty pleas in Newburyport District Court last week for stashing his Mercedes at a Haverhill garage, after claiming it was stolen and collecting $17,000 from his insurance company.

Eric J. Bernardini, 39, of 78 North End Blvd., Salisbury, pleaded guilty to filing a false vehicle insurance claim, moving the vehicle with the intent to defraud and filing a false vehicle theft report with police.

On each of the first two charges, Judge Allen Swan sentenced Bernardini to one year in the house of correction, suspending the jail time and imposing two years’ probation. On the third charge of filing a false vehicle theft report with Amesbury police, Swan sentenced Bernardini to two years’ probation.

One of the conditions of Bernardini’s probation is to make financial restitution for his crime; however, the amount has yet to be determined.

Charges of larceny of more than $250 by a single scheme and issuing a false statement under penalty of perjury were dropped.

Bernardini’s wife, Jennifer, 37, was also charged with filing a false vehicle insurance claim. She pleaded to sufficient facts, and Swan continued her case without finding, placing her on probation for one year. All other charges against her related to this crime were dismissed, but she still faces two drug-related charges, according to Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for the Essex County district attorney’s office.

Eric Bernardini’s scheme to defraud his insurance company came to the attention of the Governor’s Auto Theft Strike Force Unit of the state police after a tip was received at the Andover barracks.

According to Trooper Nicholas Baggetta, on Jan. 17 an anonymous source reported that a black Mercedes was parked at Superior Auto Detailing on Hilldale Avenue in Haverhill. According to the source, an employee of the company bragged the vehicle was “involved in an insurance scam” and “set to be chopped.”

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