ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY

NEWS RELEASE

TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney
 
 

Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff 
Office: 714-347-8408 
Cell: 714-292-2718

ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY<h3>NEWS RELEASE</h3>TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney

Michelle Van Der Linden,Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486


 

ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY<h3>NEWS RELEASE</h3>TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney

 

Orange County District Attorney
Press Release


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
Case # 10WF2917
                


 


December 1, 2010

Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

JEWELRY STORE OWNER CHARGED WITH $99,000 FRAUD FOR COLLECTING INSURANCE ON 4.21 CARAT DIAMOND FALSELY REPORTED STOLEN

WESTMINSTER – A jewelry store owner has been charged with fraudulently collecting over $99,000 from his insurance company after falsely reporting a 4.21 carat diamond stolen. Lior Bitton, 36, Los Angeles, is charged with one felony count of insurance fraud and faces a maximum sentence of five years in state prison if convicted. He is being held on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Friday, Dec. 3, 2010, at the West Justice Center in Westminster. The time and Department are to be determined.  

 

Bitton is the owner of Pacific Diamonds and Gems jewelry store in Westminster. On Jan. 7, 2010, one of Bitton’s employees was robbed of 20 diamonds. Bitton is accused of filing a claim with his insurance company for the stolen diamonds, including a 4.21 carat diamond that the defendant had certified with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in September 2009. For the 4.21 carat diamond reported stolen, Bitton is accused of accepting over $99,000 from his insurance company.

 

In March 2010, Bitton is accused of traveling to Israel, meeting with a diamond wholesaler, and providing the wholesaler with the 4.21 carat diamond he had reported stolen two months earlier. The wholesaler in Israel submitted the diamond to GIA for certification. Using the stone’s unique and distinct properties, similar to a fingerprint, GIA determined that the stone was the same that had been previously certified in March 2009.

 

The Westminster Police Department (WPD) investigated this case. The diamond was recovered and is in the custody of WPD.

 

Deputy District Attorney Matt Lockhart of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.

 

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