'Lost' ring leads to insurance fraud charge for Woodbury man

A Woodbury man who proposed to his fiancé this year with a diamond ring is being accused of lying to an insurance company in order to collect money on jewelry that was never really lost. In addition to the alleged insurance fraud, authorities also had reason to believe the man was a flight risk and he was asked to surrender his passport as part of a bail condition.

According to the Minnesota State Department of Commerce, in 2012 the man took out insurance on a $31,000 diamond ring. In order to obtain this insurance, he provided the insurance company -- Liberty Mutual -- with an appraisal. However, a tip to the department claimed the appraisal was a fake.

An investigation found that after the man claimed the ring was "lost" to the insurance company, he received $25,942 from the company. In March 2013, after receiving this payment, he proposed to his girlfriend. The ring he used to propose was similar to the ring he claimed he lost, the investigation claimed.

Investigators believed the man was a flight risk and he was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in late November. He appeared in court earlier this month. He has been charged with insurance fraud and theft by swindle.

At this point though, the charges are merely allegations. However, anyone in a similar situation should know these types of charges are not taken lightly by prosecutors.

For example, at this point, his bail was set at $20,000 without conditions and at $5,000 with conditions. These conditions include the surrendering of his passport. 

In these types of cases, while fines and jail time are often very real possibilities, an insurance fraud conviction can also wreak havoc on a person's reputation and can interfere with future employment opportunities. This is why it is important to seek out legal counsel as soon as there is an arrest or reason to believe an investigation.

Source: Pioneer Press, "Woodbury man charged with fraud over 'lost' ring insurance claim," Dec. 18, 2013

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