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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—People make false statements to police on a daily basis, but they are rarely indicted for them.
Though authorities often have to sift through false statements from witnesses, suspects, and alleged victims–sometimes causing harm to innocent people who are questioned, charged, and even imprisoned–there is one factor that will almost certainly improve the chances that someone's lies to police will result in criminal consequences: lying about a law enforcement officer.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey proved this point when his agency secured an indictment against a 45-year-old Monmouth County lawyer, Mark Kentos, who is a partner in the firm Schibell, Mennie & Kentos, which has offices in Ocean Township and Howell.
A resident of Freehold, Kentos was charged with "falsely incriminating another individual by wrongly claiming that a detective from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office [MCPO] was driving Kentos’s vehicle in the crash, when, in fact, the detective was never at the scene and was not involved."
The crash involved apparently occurred in Sayreville, some five months before the indictment was handed up.
Kentos was indicted following a presentation to a grand jury by Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christine D’Elia, based on the findings of Lt. Timothy Brennan of the Sayreville Police Department and Detective Nicholas Chiorello of the MCPO.
"During the investigation it was determined that Kentos was driving a 2006 Dodge Ram pickup truck in the parking lot of a nightclub in Sayreville on December 4, 2015 when he crashed into the rear passenger side of a 2013 Subaru at 11:20 p.m," reads an MCPO press release.
New Brunswick Today obtained the MCPO press release announcing the indictment despite an ongoing media blackout that has resulted in all of our reporters being removed from the list of email list receiving MCPO statements.
It seems the most likely lies to result in criminal charges are those made by police, or about police.
A review of the press releases recently issued by the MCPO shows the agency has not publicized any charges for making false statements, save for three Woodbridge cops who were charged with covering up a one-vehicle crash that occurred in May 2015.
The recent MCPO release does not identify the detective that Kentos allegedly accused of driving his vehicle, and said the official "was not at the scene of the collisison, and had not been at the nightclub."
"Kentos told police his pickup had been driven by the detective from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and claimed the detective fled."
Kentos was first charged with crimes by police on December 28, some 24 days after the crash, according to a previous MCPO release.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.