A man who evaded authorities and failed to show up in court last year on charges of falsely reporting his vehicle stolen and then setting it on fire in hopes of collecting insurance money was located recently, and faced a judge in San Mateo County Court Friday.
According to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office, Nery Leonidas Garcia, 26, of Redwood City, fell behind in the payments on his Dodge Durango truck in 2011. On May third of that year, his wife reportedly called their insurance company and fraudulently reported the truck missing. The couple hoped that the insurance company would then pay off the remaining $14,000 balance, and they would be in the clear.
However, the problem at that point became - what to do with the truck?
That's where the Garcias apparently decided to get creative.
Later that same night, San Mateo County Sheriff's deputies were on patrol in the Portola Valley area and came across a Dodge Durango truck - registered to the Garcias - engulfed in flames.
An investigation led authorities to conclude that the fire was arson, and that Nery Garcia had arranged to have someone set the truck on fire to get rid of the evidence of their fraudulent insurance claim.
Garcia posted his $50,000 bail so he could be out of custody, but then reportedly disappeared, and failed to show up for his April 3, 2012 court date.
It appears that authorities finally caught up with Garcia, though, and he appeared in court this past Friday, March 8.
During Friday's court appearance, the DA's Office reported that Garcia pleaded "no contest" to the charges against him - which include felony grand theft - in exchange for a plea deal that gets him no time in state prison and 120 days in county jail.
Garcia will appear in court again on April 5 to be officially sentenced. He has again posted bail, this time in the amount of $75,000, and remains out of custody.
What do you think of what Garcia did, and of his plea deal? Tell us in the comments below.
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