Six people were arrested across San Diego County this week during an insurance fraud crackdown dubbed Operation Bogus Burglary.
The suspects face wide variety of charges for allegedly staging thefts and then trying to recoup insurance money from it, according to the California Department of Insurance (CDI).
The CDI announced all six were arrested Wednesday and listed each of their stories in a release.
Angel Rzeslawski, 47, of Chula Vista is accused of filing a suspicious claim for more than $40,000.
In it, he said items like a $26,000 Rolex watch, $6,000 ring and a laptop computer were taken from his vehicle during a trip to the gym.
However, when CDI investigators began digging into it, they found that gym records did not place Rzeslawski at any of the gym’s locations on the day of the supposed theft, officials say. They also discovered that the laptop the suspect claimed was stolen actually belonged to his previous employer and was no longer in his possession.
The second suspect, Revan Qajar, 26, of El Cajon told police his photography studio was burglarized, and he submitted a $26,200 suspicious claim to his insurance company for camera equipment and computers.
The El Cajon Police officer who took the initial report noted that the broken window, which was 27 inches by 13.5 inches, was too small for most adults to fit through. The jagged pieces around the frame were still in place, and there was no blood or torn clothing to show that someone had crawled in, the officer said.
Additionally, the CDI says Qajar had video surveillance for his business, but he claimed he did not have the password to access the footage.
El Cajon Police soon contacted the CDI to report suspected insurance fraud after interviewing Qajar.
Insurance detectives discovered the suspect had sold one of his reportedly stolen camcorders, and when officials tracked down the person who bought it, the purchaser confirmed that Qajar was the one who sold it, the CDI says.
Based on this evidence, detectives served a search warrant to Qajar’s home and studio, where they found many of the items the suspect had reported stolen, according to the CDI.
Imperial Beach resident Javier Jimenez, 38, bought a new owners insurance policy for his condominium in Aug. 2013 and reported a burglar two days later, officials say.
He then filed a burglary report with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and an insurance claim with Farmers Insurance, which included a 50-inch television, microwave, Panasonic Toughbook and a safe with $200 in cash inside.
CDI detectives reported the receipts Jimenez turned in to prove he had purchased the items were fakes.
Suspects #4 and 5
Two people were involved in the next scheme, the CDI says. Chula Vista residents Stephen Niceler, 39, and Joanna Yeary, 38, are accused of purchasing renters insurance on Aug. 8, 2013 and filing a suspected false burglary claim on Aug. 17.
The suspects reported $1,625 worth of cash and jewelry were stolen, and when their insurance company asked for proof of purchase, the duo allegedly bought a receipt book from a local office supply store and forged a jewelry receipt.
According to the CDI, Niceler and Yeary claimed the goods were from a jeweler in National City and faxed over the receipt, which detectives soon realized was a fake.
The final suspect, 41-year-old Christopher Minnehan of San Diego, repeatedly filed fraudulent claims for the same loss of an iPhone and iMac computer, the CDI says.
According to investigators, Minnehan filed the claim four times to three different insurance companies over a period of three years.
The suspect was discovered when one company ran a loss history search on him, found the suspicious activity and reported him to the CDI.
Thanks to Operation Bogus Burglary, the suspects face charges including grand theft, filing a fraudulent insurance claim and submitting false documents in support of a false claim.
The CDI says penalties if convicted could include fines, restitution and up to five years in prison for each violation.