A Los Angeles man has been charged with insurance fraud for allegedly lying about the amount of a loss in a robbery that took place earlier this year in Westminster.
According to Officer Van Woodson, spokesman for the Westminster Police Department, the robbery took place on Jan. 7 when a courier employed by Pacific Diamonds and Gems was robbed by six armed thieves in the area of Bolsa Avenue and Weststate Street.
Lior Bitton, 36, owner of the company, said the loss was $256,000, including a 4.21-karat diamond worth more than $99,000.
He filed a claim with Berkley Asset Protection, a New York-based insurance firm.
However, a Westminster detective, working with the Gemological Institute of America, and the Federal Interstate Theft Task Force, determined that the large diamond was actually in the possession of an appraiser at the time of the theft.
Bitton was interviewed at his Los Angeles office and eventually arrested for filing a false claim to receive payment. He was booked into Orange County Jail and is free on bail. He denies any wrongdoing.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the WPD’s detective bureau at (714) 548-3207.