Nunez con­victed on all counts

Jury finds Kingston den­tist guilty of in­surance fraud, grand lar­ceny

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

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.

PA­TRI­CIA DOXSEY — DAILY FREE­MAN

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.

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