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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
September 19, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
- Greta Gooden Brown, Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

 

Rachel Sacharow
609-984-1936

 

Hudson County Auto Theft Trafficking Leader Sentenced to State Prison
Defendant Ordered to Pay More Than $120,000 Restitution

TRENTON - Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy announced that a Hudson County man has been sentenced to state prison for being the leader of an auto theft trafficking network operating out of Jersey City that was allegedly responsible for stealing dozens of high-end luxury automobiles.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Antonio Rodriguez-Baez, 30, Lembeck Avenue, Jersey City, Hudson County, was ordered by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Peter J. Vasquez to serve four years in state prison and pay more than $123,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to being the leader of an automobile theft trafficking network. The charge was contained in an Aug. 19, 2004 indictment filed by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.

At his April 22 guilty plea before Judge Vazquez, Rodriguez-Baez a/k/a “Tony,” Eladio Reyes, and/or Jaime Rodriguez, admitted that he was in the business of buying and selling stolen automobiles. Specifically, Rodriguez-Baez admitted that from Aug. 30, 2002 through Jan. 9, 2004, he possessed numerous stolen vehicles, including a 2000 Mercedes-Benz, a 2001 Mercedes-Benz, a 2004 Cadillac Escalade, and two 2002 Mercedes-Benz. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Rodriguez-Baez also ran an automobile re-tagging operation, which removed and/or replaced Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) in order to re-sell or transport the vehicles out of state. VIN numbers identify automobiles and major automobile parts so that the identity and ownership of the automobile can be traced by law enforcement.

State Investigators Jarek Pyrzanowski and Jeffrey Lorman, Civil Investigator David Whitaker, and Deputy Attorney General Jacqueline D. Smith coordinated the investigation. DAG Smith represented the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the Sept. 16 sentencing. In addition, Det. Sgt. Stan Chuik, of the Livingston Police Department, and the Jersey City Police Department Auto Squad assisted in the investigation.

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