A Cumberland County man was sentenced for filing a false vehicle theft claim. Casey M. Wendling, 28, of Millville, was sentenced to five years of probation by Superior Court Judge Benjamin Telsey in Cumberland Countyand ordered to pay $52,978 in restitution.
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. The sentence was based on Wendling’s June 3 guilty plea to an accusation charging him with third-degree insurance fraud.
In pleading guilty on June 3, Wendling admitted that between Sept. 11, 2008, and Aug. 2,
2010, he submitted a fraudulent vehicle theft claim to the Lincoln General Insurance Company claiming that his 2007 Peterbilt tractor had been stolen, when, in fact, he knew it had not been stolen.
An investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor revealed that the New Jersey State Police had located the tractor, which was still in Wendling’s possession, but had been repainted. The State Police also discovered that attempts had been made to conceal the tractor’s true Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) by re‑plating the vehicle with a VIN plate from a 1993 Peterbilt tractor and obscuring two digits on the engine’s serial number in order to make them unidentifiable.
Detective Hector Montano and Deputy Attorneys General Paul D. Santangini and Joan Burke were assigned to the investigation. Burke represented the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the sentencing. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi thanked the New Jersey State Police and Lincoln General Insurance Company for their assistance in the investigation.