Call in the authoritiesA Mercer County grand jury has indicted a Little Silver woman as part of a wide-ranging investigation into the alleged fraudulent sale of automobile titles through the state Motor Vehicle Commission.

Fifty-year-old Maryleigh Barbusin was charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and bribery in the second degree, as well as third-degree tampering with public records or information.

According to a statement issued by the AG’s office, Barbusin was the girlfriend of James McElroy, 51, of Livingston, the owner of a West Orange towing company, and worked for the company. McElroy was also indicted.

The charges stem from the indictment of Wesley Starr, 35, of Trenton, a former MVC clerk charged with selling fraudulent motor vehicle titles to various brokers and purchasers, including Barbusin and McElroy.

Starr is accused of circumventing MVC procedures to sell an estimated 378 vehicle titles.

From the AG:

The purchasers typically paid anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000 for the fraudulent title. The purchasers usually were owners, employees or customers of auto businesses, including used car dealerships and towing companies. In some cases, the cars were obtained by the business without a title, while in others the intent was to remove a lien from the title or generate a regular title to replace a salvage title on a vehicle damaged in an accident. In some cases, the business owners or employees acted as brokers for the fraudulent titles.

Seven defendants have pleaded guilty to obtaining fraudulent titles in the scheme, the statement says.

Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a $150,000 criminal fine, while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

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