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Filing an Insurance Claim on a Not-Yet-Purchased Ring Results in Insurance Fraud, Theft-by-Swindle Charges, and an Airport Arrest

Commerce Fraud Bureau investigation reveals the true story behind $31k engagement ring

December 18, 2013

For Immediate Release:

SAINT PAUL, MN – Washington County Attorney’s Office recently charged Alberto Jose Marzan of Woodbury with two counts of Insurance Fraud and Theft-by-Swindle, each count carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years and $20,000, for attempting to defraud Liberty Mutual Insurance. 

According to the Criminal Complaint, Marzan called his insurance agent in October 2012 to obtain a jewelry insurance rider for his renters’ insurance to insure a $31,000 diamond engagement ring.  To do this, he supplied Liberty Mutual with an appraisal as proof of purchase.  In March 2013, Marzan reported the engagement ring stolen or lost and received a payment from his insurance company for $25,942.25.

“Diligent casework conducted by our Commerce Fraud Bureau resulted in charges against an individual that thought he could commit fraud for personal gain,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “We stop fraud when we see it because, over time, each and every fraudulent claim adds up and results in insurance rate increases for all of us.”

On a cruise in April 2013, Marzan proposed to his fiancé with a diamond engagement ring similar to the stolen gem.  At the same time, back in Minnesota Liberty Mutual received an anonymous tip indicating that Marzan had filed a fraudulent claim on a $31,000 ring that he had never possessed.  Additionally, the caller also stated that the appraisal used to gain the insurance was false and the entire claim was a scam adding that Marzan used the insurance money to actually purchase the ring in the days leading up to the April cruise.  The anonymous tipoff spurred the investigation by the Commerce Fraud Bureau.

The Commerce Fraud Bureau (CFB) conducted an investigation that uncovered documentation indicating Marzan actually paid $5,000 less for the ring than what he received from the Liberty Mutual claim, and surveillance found Marzan’s fiancé was wearing the engagement ring.   The CFB with the assistance of the Woodbury Police Department obtained and executed search warrants on Marzan’s Woodbury home.  While the search was occurring, law enforcement interviewed Marzan’s fiancé at her place of employment and she revealed that they had recently broken up and she had already returned the ring. Commerce Fraud Bureau Special Agents located the ring in the glove compartment of his silver BMW in the garage along with an offer from a nearby jewelry store to buy the ring from Marzan for $5,500.

After the evidence was gathered at the end of October, Marzan made multiple arrangements leading the CFB to believe he was a flight risk.  He terminated his apartment lease, purchased a plane ticket, and scheduled to turn off the power in his home on December 2.  With the help of the Airport Police, Marzan was arrested by Commerce Fraud Bureau Special Agents at the Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport on the busiest travel day of the year, the night before Thanksgiving.

Report Insurance Fraud 

Insurance fraud is a crime with serious criminal consequences. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, insurance fraud is the most costly white collar crime in the United States, behind tax evasion. 

The Minnesota Department of Commerce receives tips from companies and individuals to report suspected fraud. Minnesotans can report fraud anonymously by calling the Commerce Fraud Bureau at 1-888-FRAUDMN (1-888-372-8366). 

More information about insurance fraud in Minnesota can be found on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website.