Monday, November 23, 2009

Insurance-fraud charges against Tacoma couple

A Tacoma couple and a co-worker are facing felony insurance fraud charges after allegedly falsifying receipts for an insurance claim.

Anthony Mezias, 37, and his wife Melissa Mezias, 34, have been charged in Pierce County Superior Court with one count each of first-degree theft and two counts of making a false claim or proof in an insurance case. Also charged was Benjamin Little, 33, of Seattle, who faces one count of false claim or proof.

In late 2006, the Mezias’ reported that their home had been burglarized and their car stolen. Over a period of four months, they submitted inventories to their insurer, State Farm, totaling more than $49,000 in personal property they said had been stolen.

The claim included a 57-inch television, allegedly purchased from a stranger for $5,800 in cash. The Mezias’ provided the insurer with a notarized proof of purchase from the seller, Benjamin Little. The notary information turned out to be forged, and Little reportedly was a co-worker of Anthony Mezias.

Also in the insurance claim was a $3,000 Persian rug that the Mezias’ allegedly bought from their next-door neighbor. Investigators from state insurance commissioner’s Special Investigations Unit questioned the neighbor. He said he’d never sold the Mezias’ a Persian rug. He also said that the Mezias’ were looking for someone to pretend to be the seller so that they could collect money from their insurance company.

Arraignment for all three is scheduled this week in Pierce County Superior Court.