Operation Bogus Burglary nets six arrests in San Diego County
News: 2014 Press Release
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - In the early morning hours of Wednesday, June 18, 2014 multiple enforcement teams from the California Department of Insurance arrested six suspects in San Diego County for multiple counts of felony insurance fraud. The operation titled Bogus Burglary focused on combatting staged property theft in San Diego County, a fast-growing crime trend in both homeowners and renters insurance.
"The temptation to pad or exaggerate an insurance claim is attractive to some people but these are not victimless crimes," said Insurance Commissioner Jones. "We all pay for insurance fraud through higher premiums."
The six suspects are facing a variety of charges, including grand theft, filing a fraudulent insurance claim and submitting false documents in support of a false claim. Penalties could include fines, restitution and up to five years in state prison for each violation.
The following suspects were arrested during Operation Bogus Burglary:
- Angel Rzeslawski, 47 of Chula Vista filed a suspicious claim for over $40,000 that included a $26,000 Rolex watch, $6,000 ring and a laptop computer. Rzeslawski informed Department of Insurance detectives that he had the items stolen from his vehicle during a visit to his gym. Records from the gym did not place the suspect at any of the gym's locations on the day of the alleged theft. Additionally, it was determined that the laptop in question was Rzeslawski's previous employer's property, which they had reclaimed from him when his employment ended.
- Revan Qajar, 26 of El Cajon reported a burglary of his photography studio to El Cajon Police and submitted a suspicious claim for the theft of his camera equipment and computers worth $26,200. The responding officer noted in the initial report that the broken window, 27 inches by 13.5 inches, was too small for an average adult to gain entry, had sharp jagged pieces of glass still in the frame, and no blood or torn clothing were present to indicate anyone had gained access to the business through the broken window. Qajar's business had a video surveillance system, but he claimed to not have the password to access the footage.
Due to the inconsistent nature of the Qajar's statement and the lack of supporting evidence, the El Cajon Police contacted the Department of Insurance to report possible insurance fraud. During the department's investigation detectives determined that Qajar sold one of the camcorders that he reported stolen. Detectives located and interviewed the person that purchased the camcorder and this confirmed that Qajar did in fact sell the camcorder. Detectives executed a search warrant for Qajar's residence and photography studio on May 29, 2014 and recovered many of the items that Qajar reported stolen.
- Javier Jimenez, 38 of Imperial Beach purchased a new condominium owners insurance policy on August 6, 2013 and then reported a burglary two days later on August 8. Jimenez's insurance claim totaled $5,411 and included a 50 inch television, a microwave a Panasonic Toughbook and a safe with $200 in cash. The suspect filed a burglary report with the San Diego County Sheriff's Office and provided suspicious receipts to Farmers Insurance that detectives later determined were fake.
- Stephen Niceler, 39 and Joanna Yeary 38 of Chula Vista were discovered to have conspired to purchase renters insurance on August 8, 2013 and then filed a suspected false burglary claim on August 17 for the fraudulent loss of cash and jewelry valued at $1,625. After the insurer requested documentation to substantiate the purchase, Niceler and Yeary allegedly purchased a receipt book from a local office supply company and forged a receipt for one of the jewelry items. They claimed the receipt was from a reputable jeweler in National City and faxed the fake receipt as proof of purchase.
- Christopher Minnehan, 41 of San Diego is accused of repeatedly filing fraudulent claims for the same property loss of an iPhone and iMac computer four times to three different insurance companies. Minnehan's false claims spanned three years and was discovered when one of the insurance companies ran a loss history on Minnehan and discovered the suspicious activity. The insurer reported the findings to the Department of Insurance.
The San Diego District Attorney's Office is prosecuting these cases.
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- Arrest photos available; please visit our Flickr page.
- List of suspects arrested:
- Contact for San Diego District Attorney's Office, Steve Walker (619) 531-3890.
- The Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) Report is a claims-information report generated by LexisNexis®, a consumer-reporting agency. The report contains up to seven years of personal-auto and personal-property claims history. CLUE reports are generated when an insurer receives a loss claim, pays out money or formally denies a claim. These CLUE reports contain a name, date of birth, policy number, date of loss, type of loss, amount of loss, description of property and the address associated with the claim.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.