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What would you do for $55 grand? Would you crash your car two dozen times? How about if it was a crime? A man in Utah claimed 23 car accidents in the last 5 years to collect on insurance and now he's collecting criminal charges, according to the Associated Press.
Navid Monjazeb got over $55,000 from insurance carriers over 5 years. Now he has added criminal charges to his collection and he is looking at 12 counts of insurance fraud, 2 counts of forgery, 7 counts of reckless endangerment, and a pattern of unlawful activity after making allegedly false claims.
The Utah Insurance Department Insurance Fraud Division's (IFD) Armand Glick told reporters that the charges only stem from cases where it was clear that the car was damaged prior to a crash. According to the department, "Anyone who seeks to benefit from insurance with inflated or false claims of loss or injury commits insurance fraud."
Insurance fraud is an egalitarian crime, the Utah IFD website points out. "Insurance fraud is committed by individuals from all walks of life. The Insurance Fraud Division (IFD) has prosecuted doctors, lawyers, chiropractors, car salesmen, insurance agents and other persons in positions of trust."
The IFD says that insurance fraud occurs whenever an individual deceives an insurance company, agent or other person to try to obtain money to which they are not entitled. It happens when someone puts false information on an insurance application and when false or misleading information is given or important information is omitted in an insurance transaction or claim.
According to statistics on the IFD's site, insurance fraud costs $96.2 billion annually on all lines of insurance, and about $950 per family. The IFD believes that more than one third of all people injured in accidents exaggerate their injuries to their insurers. Similarly, it states that nearly a third of doctors also exaggerate patience injuries for insurance purposes.
As the case of Navid Monjazeb shows, Utah is not taking it anymore. The state says it has dramatically increased prosecution of insurance fraudsters in the last 5 years, and it cites some impressive statistics.
Arrests for insurance fraud in Utah are up 159 percent over 5 years ago, and felony charges for the crime have increased by nearly 400 percent.