STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. MACAULAY WILLIAMS (15-02-0168, MIDDLESEX COUNTY AND STATEWIDE)

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION This opinion shall not "constitute precedent or be binding upon any court." Although it is posted on the internet, this opinion is binding only on the parties in the case and its use in other cases is limited. R. 1:36-3. SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION DOCKET NO. A-0462-18 STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. MACAULAY WILLIAMS, Defendant-Appellant. ________________________ Submitted June 3, 2021 – Decided July 22, 2021 Before Judges Alvarez and Sumners. On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Indictment No. 15-02- 0168. Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Michele A. Adubato, Designated Counsel, on the brief). Yolanda Ciccone, Middlesex County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (David M. Liston, Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief). PER CURIAM A jury convicted defendant Macaulay Williams of third-degree insurance fraud, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4.6(a) and (b), and third-degree attempted theft, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 and N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4. On August 13, 2018, the trial judge sentenced defendant to concurrent one-year terms of probation. He appeals his convictions. We affirm. The following facts are gleaned from the record. Defendant submitted a claim to his homeowner's insurance carrier for water damage, which was paid. The adjuster informed him that the policy would also reimburse him for additional living expenses (ALE), incurred as a result of displacement while repairs were being made. After the discussion, defendant emailed the adjuster, requesting compensation for twenty-one days at $1500 per day, for a total of $31,500, in ALE. The adjuster sent defendant the relevant questionnaire. Once completed, it did not support the claim. The only documentation defendant attached were photocopies of two checks payable to his former girlfriend, one for $5600, dated May 6, 2013, and the other for $10,850, dated June 3, 2013. The State presented a witness from defendant's credit union who testified that when the checks were written, defendant did not have sufficient funds in his 2 A-0462-18 account for them to clear. The checks were never cashed. The matter was referred to the insurer's special investigation unit (SIU). An SIU investigator testified at trial that she met with defendant's former girlfriend at her home in Fords. It was raining that day, and since she was not invited in, she conducted the interview while she stood outside on the porch, holding an umbrella, while the former girlfriend stood in a doorway. The interview was not completely recorded, as partway through the device fell to the ground. The investigator restarted the machine later when she realized it was not recording. During that interview, the former girlfriend said defendant had been her fiancé for approximately a year, and that he stayed with her while his home was being worked on. She alleged that during that time defendant contributed towards expenses, such as utility bills. Defense counsel requested the court take judicial notice that it was not raining on that day in New Brunswick, a town near Fords. The judge refused, and because …

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