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Three in California charged with auto insurance fraud

Three people from Fresno have been charged with felony auto insurance fraud in two separate criminal cases involving the false reporting of claims for big rigs. California insurance commissioner Steve Poizner announced the charges today, although the individuals were arrested earlier this month.

In one case, an individual reported that his big rig caught fire while he was driving along I-40. He then filed a claim with his auto insurance carrier, reporting the loss.

An investigation by the Urban Organized Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force later discovered that the fires which burned the vehicle were intentionally set. Investigators allege that the individual set fire to his vehicle in an attempt to receive a $35,000 payout from his insurance company, Poizner said.

"Flagrantly disregarding the law is the worst way to try and make a buck," Poizner said. "Our enforcement officers are far too good at their jobs to let insurance fraud go undetected. If you commit insurance fraud, you will go to jail."

In the second case, two people reported the theft of a big rig to the Fresno Police Department. Task force detectives later discovered that the big rig was never parked at the reported theft location.

The two allegedly attempted to defraud their auto insurance company of approximately $40,000, Poizner said.

The Fresno County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the cases.

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