Eight people from Glendale and Burbank were arrested on suspicion of insurance fraud after allegedly staging two car accidents and reporting fraudulent vandalism that, taken together, swindled multiple insurers out of $82,000, officials announced Monday.
Investigators were tipped off roughly two years ago by reports that Suren Grigorian, 45, allegedly filed a fraudulent insurance claim for vandalism to his 2007 Mercedes sedan that was parked at his Burbank home, according to the California Department of Insurance.
An informant alleged that Grigorian damaged his own car, reportedly scamming the insurer of roughly $20,000, officials said.
Further investigation revealed that seven other suspects — family members and close associates of Grigorian — were allegedly involved in staging two car accidents in 2008, defrauding multiple insurers of $62,000.
In addition to Grigorian, the suspects — Aida Akopian, 36; Seda Markarian, 62; Mamikon Hakobyan, 74; Masis Galstyan, 49; Rosa Galstyan, 42; Roza Issayan, 41; and Setik Patatanian, 49 — were arrested on Jan. 10, said Dave Althausen, spokesman for the state Department of Insurance.
All of them — except for Setik Patatanian and Masis Galstyan, both of Glendale — are Burbank residents, Althausen said.
If convicted, they each face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $50,000, officials said.
-- Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News