NUNEZ ON TRIAL AGAIN
Jury seated in insurance fraud case of dentist who was acquitted of murder
A jury will begin hearing testimony today in the theft and fraud case against Dr. Gilberto Nunez, a Kingston dentist acquitted of murder in June but still facing charges in an unrelated matter for allegedly stealing insurance money following a fire at a building he owned.
The jury of seven women and five men was chosen Monday following a daylong proceeding in Ulster County Court. Two alternates, a man and woman, also were selected.
Ulster County Judge Donald A. Williams said he anticipates the attorneys in the case will finish with their witnesses by Friday, allowing the jury to possibly begin deliberating that day.
Nunez has not been charged with starting the fire that destroyed the building at 381 Washington Ave. in Uptown Kingston, next to his dental of-
fice, but has been charged with felony counts of falsifying business records, grand larceny and insurance fraud in connection with an allegedly fraudulent $8,400 insurance claim he filed as a result of the blaze.
Prosecutors claim Nunez filed fraudulent insurance claims following the Feb. 20, 2014, fire. His attorneys say their client did nothing wrong and that the amount cited in the
indictment represents a tiny fraction of an otherwise undisputed claim for the building.
An indictment by an Ulster County grand jury alleges Nunez stole $8,400 from the Preferred Mutual Insurance Co. on June 6, 2014 and committed a fraudulent insurance act between Feb. 21 and June 6 of that year. The indictment also alleges that Nunez falsified business records on five occasions between Feb. 21 and May 28, 2014, with the intent to defraud, or to conceal a crime.
During jury selection, Orange County Senior Assistant District Attorney Maryellen Albanese, the special prosecutor in the case, questioned potential jurors about whether they could pay attention during a case that would involve a lot of numbers and documents. She said the case would be a “paper” one and could be tedious.
“This case is a little bit dry,” she said.
Albanese also questioned whether the jurors could fairly judge the credibility of a witness who might have a criminal record
or whether they had an issue with the fact the victim in the case is an insurance company.
Defense attorney Evan Lipton asked whether any of the potential jurors would have an issue with the defense offering no proof during the trial.
On June 14, Nunez was acquitted of murdering his former lover’s husband, Thomas Kolman, in November 2011. Nunez was, however, found guilty of two felony counts of possession of a forged instrument for having a fake CIA identification card on
his computer and for giving his former lover a letter purporting to be from a CIA agent.
Kolman, 44, whose wife Linda was having an affair with Nunez, was found dead in his own vehicle at a shopping plaza in the town of Ulster. Prosecutors alleged Nunez poisoned him with a dental sedative so he could have Mrs. Kolman to himself. The defense argued Nunez and Thomas Kolman were best friends and the dentist had nothing to do with the death.
Williams has said he will not sentence Nunez
for the forged instrument convictions until after the dentist stands trial for the charges related to the insurance fraud, as well as for charges of perjury, offering a false instrument for filing and making an apparently sworn false statement in connection to allegedly filing false information while applying for a pistol permit. Jury selection for that trial is expected to begin next month.
Opening arguments in the insurance fraud case are to begin at 9:30 a.m. today.
Gilberto Nunez, center, leaves the Ulster County Courthouse in Kingston during a break in jury selection on Monday. In the foreground is one of Nunez’s lawyers, Evan Lipton.