California car insurance fraud investigation leads to charges for couple
Edwin Saghian, 51, of Tarzana, Calif., was arraigned Monday in Fresno County Superior Court on five counts of insurance fraud after allegedly setting fire to his own vehicle and then reporting it stolen for an insurance payment.
His co-conspirator and alleged girlfriend, Clarita Martinez, also known as Clarita Bailey, 39, of Fresno, has been charged with one count of insurance fraud and is expected to face trial on March 4.
In January 2020, Saghian reported that he drove from the Los Angeles area to Fresno to visit his girlfriend. After dinner and a trip to a nearby casino, Saghian reported that his 2017 Chevy Tahoe had been stolen. Shortly after, Saghian’s Chevy Tahoe was found burnt out by the California Highway Patrol. but an inspection of the vehicle found no signs of tampering or tampering with the ignition. The vehicle was declared a total loss of $27,041, according to the California Department of Insurance.
A CDI investigation would have revealed inconsistencies with the chronology of events provided by Saghain. Detectives found that Saghian and Martinez were in the area where Saghian’s vehicle was found burnt out the evening of the alleged theft. Throughout the claims process, Saghian allegedly provided several false statements in support of the claim and signed a notarized affidavit of theft.
The investigation allegedly revealed that Saghian drove to the pickup location, dropped off the Chevy Tahoe, set it on fire, reported it stolen, and then filed an insurance claim. He also found that Martinez allegedly conspired with Saghian to commit insurance fraud, according to CDI.
Saghian was arrested on November 30, 2021 and is due back in court on March 4. The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office is pursuing the case.
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