Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that Kareem Spence, an East Orange Police officer, pleaded guilty today to insurance fraud before the Honorable Peter J. Vazquez, Judge of the Superior Court.
Spence, 35, of South Plainfield had been an East Orange police officer for six years. In court today he admitted torching his 2002 Cadillac Coupe deVille because the car, which had 122,000 miles, repeatedly overheated. At the time, he still owed $8,000 on the vehicle. He took the vehicle to 50 Rich Street in Irvington and set it on fire to recover the insurance proceeds.
Assistant Prosecutor Michael G. Morris, head of the ECPO’s Vehicle Fire Initiative, said, “The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office will prosecute the crime of insurance fraud no matter who you are and no matter what you do for a living.’’
Spence was arrested Wednesday, March 31, 2010, at approximately 10:30 a.m. at East Orange Police Headquarters after a three-count indictment was unsealed on March 30, 2010, charging him with aggravated arson, insurance fraud and attempted theft by deception.
As part of the plea agreement the arson and theft by deception charges were dismissed.
Judge Vazquez scheduled sentencing for Feb. 4, 2011. When he is sentenced, Spence faces 3 to 5 years in state prison.