NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 8, 2012

Husband and wife charged in insurance fraud

(Continued)

“Mrs. Bernardini was crying on and off the whole time she was talking to me,” according to Kooken’s report.

According to court documents, Kooken noted he found no broken glass in the parking lot where the car had been parked or drag marks to indicate the car had been towed.

Back at the Amesbury police station, Jennifer Bernardini signed the stolen car report and the police entered the vehicle into the national crime database and issued a “be on the lookout” broadcast in hopes of other agencies spotting the stolen car.

During the process, Kooken learned Eric Bernardini’s Massachusetts driver’s license had been suspended for failure to pay child support.

“Mr. Bernardini was not as upset about the car as he was about learning his license was suspended,” Kooken wrote. “Ms. Bernardini was more upset about the car than her husband.”

As the investigation progressed, Allstate Insurance was contacted to obtain the car’s insurance theft claim file. The insurance claim affidavit was signed by Eric Bernardini for the theft of the car, citing the same scenario as that given to Amesbury police. The affidavit also included the claim that there was only one set of keys in the Bernardinis’ possession with no duplicate sets made. The couple also said they had no knowledge of the whereabouts of the car, which was purchased for $19,499 from Prestige Motor Sales of Malden in December 2010.

Allstate processed the claim, issuing two checks: one to Eric Bernardini for $2,656.96 on Dec. 23, 2011, and another to Wells Fargo Dealer Service, the loan holder, for $14,348.04 on Dec. 22.

On Jan. 25, Baggetta returned to McAuliffe, who, after signing a Miranda Rights form, issued a formal statement, repeating he’d agreed to store Bernardini’s Mercedes for the winter for $500, McAuliffe said. Bernardini dropped off the car, paid $300, saying was going to Florida and had no place to park the car. Bernardini did not leave the keys at that time, saying he was afraid McAuliffe would drive it, according to McAuliffe’s statement.

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