Nunez convicted on all counts
Jury finds Kingston dentist guilty of insurance fraud, grand larceny
Kingston dentist Gilberto Nunez was convicted on all counts Tuesday at his trial for insurance fraud and theft. The Ulster County Court jury, which began deliberating Friday afternoon, returned its verdicts about 2 p.m. after deliberating for more than 14 hours over three days.
Nunez, 49, who earlier this year was acquitted of murder in the death of his ex-lover’s husband, was convicted of one count of grand larceny, one count of insurance fraud and five counts of falsifying business records, all felonies.
The dentist appeared stoic as the jury foreman said “guilty” seven times, once for each count of the seven-count indictment. Nunez’s wife, Yameil, wept.
One juror dabbed her eyes with her scarf as the verdict was read, and she cried as she left the courtroom.
The case centered on whether Nunez, a Poughkeepsie resident, improperly received an $8,400 insurance payment related to a 2014 fire that destroyed an Uptown Kingston building he owned next to his dental office.
Nunez claimed the amount was to make up for lost rent at 381-385 Washington Ave. The defense said Nunez was paid in cash and barter, but Matthew Topple who signed a lease for the space and stored his construction equipment in the building, said he never paid — or intended to pay — Nunez for the space.
During its three days of deliberations, jurors requested to hear again the testimony of Topple and of William McVey, the independent insurance adjuster who recommended
Nunez be paid for the lost rent. They also listened again to a taped call Nunez placed to Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. in which he asked to have the electric and gas service to the building turned off and to a call he made to his insurance company, Preferred Mutual, in which he reported the fire.
The jury, comprising five men and seven women, also asked for numerous documents as it deliberated, including the lease agreement Topple signed, an application for a variance in which Nunez stated the building was vacant, and several others that were introduced during the trial.
Testimony in the case began last Tuesday. The lawyers made their closing arguments Friday morning.
“It took them four days to present it [the case] to us, so naturally it took us a few days to go through each and every bit of evidence to make sure we made the right decision,” one juror said after the verdict was announced. “We felt like it was a great responsibility to make sure we made the right decision.”
The juror, who declined to give his name, said the jury felt the case was “very poorly presented” but that, in the end, it came down to the “timelines of everything.”
“There were too many mistakes to make it a coincidence,” he said.
Nunez’s attorney, Evan Lipton, declined to comment following the verdict.
Orange County Senior Assistant District Attorney Maryellen Albanese, the special prosecutor in the case, said she was “satisfied” with the jury’s decision.”
“It was a bit of a complicated case, there was a lot of paperwork involved, and the jurors obviously paid a lot of attention to the evidence,” she said.
The jury in the case deliberated far longer than the one that acquitted Nunez of second-degree murder in June. In that case, the jury met behind
closed doors for just six hours before finding Nunez not guilty in the 2011 death of Thomas Kolman, 44, of Saugerties. Though acquitted of murder, Nunez was convicted in that case 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 faces a maximum sentence of 2-1/3 to seven years in state prison on those charges.
He faces a maximum sentence of 2-1/3 to seven years in state prison for the grand larceny and insurance fraud charges of which he was convicted Tuesday and 1-1/3 to four years on the other charges.
Nunez also faces charges of perjury, offering a false instrument for filing and making an apparently false sworn 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.
Williams has said he will not sentence Nunez on any of the convictions until all of the cases have been resolved.
After the verdict in the insurance case was announced Tuesday, Williams ruled Nunez will be allowed to remain free on bail.
Gilberto Nunez and his wife, Yameil, leave court on Tuesday after he was convicted on all counts at his trial for insurance fraud and theft.