Still no ver­dict in Nunez fraud trial

Jury out longer than panel that cleared den­tist of murder

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­tri­cia Doxsey pdoxsey@free­manon­ pat­ti­at­free­man on Twit­ter

Ju­rors in the Gil­berto Nunez in­surance fraud trial de­lib­er­ated all day Mon­day with­out reach­ing a ver­dict.

The five-man, seven-woman jury be­gan de­bat­ing Nunez’s fate Fri­day af­ter­noon fol­low­ing three days of tes­ti­mony in Ul­ster County Court, and the panel now has de­lib­er­ated longer than the jury that ac­quit­ted him of murder four months ago.

Nunez, a Kingston den­tist who was found

not guilty in June of killing his ex-lover’s hus­band, is on trial for in­surance fraud and grand lar­ceny re­lated to an in­surance claim he made on the build­ing he owned at 381-385 Washington Ave., next door to his den­tal of­fice. The build­ing was de­stroyed by a fire in Fe­bru­ary 2014; Nunez is not ac­cused of set­ting the fire.

Ju­rors must de­cide is whether Nunez was en­ti­tled to an $8,400 in­surance pay­out, out of a to­tal of $180,000, that he said was lost rental in­come due to the fire; or, as pros­e­cu­tors con­tend, whether he stole the money from the in­surance com­pany by fil­ing a false claim for a va­cant build­ing.

Nunez has been charged with one count of grand lar­ceny, one count of in­surance fraud and five counts of fal­si­fy­ing busi­ness records, all felonies.

Through­out the day Mon­day, ju­rors, who ap­peared to be strug­gling over whether the build­ing was in­deed va­cant, asked for nu­mer­ous pieces of ev­i­dence, in­clud­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion Nunez com­pleted for a zon­ing change for the build­ing, prior to the date of the lease, in which he said the build­ing was va­cant. They also asked to re­hear the le­gal def­i­ni­tions of in­tent, rea­son­able doubt and oc­cu­pancy, as well as whether Nunez had a mort­gage on the build­ing at the time of the fire.

Ju­rors also asked to re­hear pros­e­cu­tion tes­ti­mony of Matthew Top­ple, who rented an apart­ment from Nunez at 387 Washington Ave. and signed a lease for the rental of the first floor of the build­ing at 381-385 Washington Ave.

Un­der ques­tion­ing by Or­ange County As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Maryellen Al­banese, Top­ple said he of­ten paid his rent through barter and

that he did sig­nif­i­cant con­struc­tion and ren­o­va­tion work on Nunez’s build­ings, as well as a home owned by Nunez’s wife.

He also tes­ti­fied that he signed a lease for the first floor of 381-385 Washington Ave. but never paid — or in­tended to pay — rent for the space, which he used to store his tools. And he said he was un­aware of the terms spelled out in the lease, which called for him to pay $1,200 a month for the space.

“He was a friend of mine and I was trying to help him out,” Top­ple said of Nunez. “I got to store my tools for free.”

In his in­surance claim, Nunez said he lost five months of rent due to the fire. An in­surance in­spec­tor tes­ti­fied he added an ad­di­tional two months of lost rent onto Nunez’s claim to cover ad­min­is­tra­tive de­lays.

In June, a jury de­lib­er­ated for only six hours be­fore ac­quit­ting Nunez of sec­ond-de­gree murder

in the Novem­ber 2011 death of Thomas Kol­man, his ex-lover’s hus­band. 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.

Nunez also is fac­ing 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 in that case is ex­pected to be­gin next month.

Ul­ster County Judge Don­ald A. Wil­liams has said he will not sen­tence Nunez on any of the con­vic­tions un­til all of Nunez’s cases have been re­solved.

Jury de­lib­er­a­tions in the in­surance case are to re­sume at 9:30 a.m. Tues­day.


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