A Lengthy Island prison defendant tried faking his demise to keep away from a jail sentence, however the phony demise certificates his lawyer submitted had a obvious spelling error that made it a useless giveaway for a fraud, prosecutors stated on Tuesday.
Robert Berger, 25, of Huntington, New York, now faces as much as 4 years in jail if convicted within the alleged scheme. That’s along with pending sentences for earlier responsible pleas to prices of possession of a stolen Lexus and tried grand larceny of a truck — punishment prosecutors say he was seeking to keep away from.
“It would by no means stop to amaze me the lengths some individuals will go to keep away from being held accountable on prison prices,” Nassau County District Legal professional Madeline Singas stated in a phone interview.
Arraigned by video on Tuesday due to the coronavirus pandemic, Berger pleaded not responsible to a single depend of providing a false instrument for submitting. A choose set bail at $1 however ordered Berger again to jail due to his underlying circumstances. His subsequent courtroom date is scheduled for July 29.
A message searching for remark was left with a public defender who took over Berger’s case after the lawyer who submitted the suspicious demise certificates claimed he’d been used as a pawn and had nothing to do with the alleged shenanigans.
At first look, Berger’s purported demise certificates regarded like an official doc.
Scheduled to be sentenced to a yr in jail final October on the theft-related prices, Berger fled the state, whereas taking steps to persuade his then-lawyer, prosecutors and the choose that he had killed himself — together with allegedly utilizing his fiance to cross alongside a bogus demise certificates, prosecutors stated.
At first look, Berger’s purported demise certificates regarded like an official doc issued by the New Jersey Division of Well being, Very important Statistics and Registry, however there was one massive drawback: Registry was spelled “Regsitry,” prosecutors stated. There have been additionally inconsistencies within the font sort and dimension that raised suspicions, they stated.
The true New Jersey Division of Well being, Very important Statistics and Registry confirmed that Berger’s demise certificates was a faux, prosecutors stated.
Berger was alive, however not solely effectively. Whereas supposedly useless, he’d been arrested in suburban Philadelphia on prices together with allegations he supplied a false identification to regulation enforcement and stole from a Catholic faculty. He was sentenced in January to as much as a yr in jail, in response to Pennsylvania courtroom data.
Berger’s case was harking back to one six years in the past wherein a former Coast Guard petty officer-turned-shoe salesman posed as a former army lawyer, soliciting shoppers and showing in courtroom. That man, Kenneth Goldstein, was outed as a fraud when he began rambling in an un-lawyerlike vogue in a Lengthy Island courtroom.
“You’re gonna get caught,” Singas stated. “We are saying it on a regular basis. Crime doesn’t pay. We’ll meet up with you finally. On this case, it’s by no means a good suggestion to submit phony paperwork to the district legal professional. We had been in a position to guarantee that he wasn’t in a position to get away with it.”