Insurance fraud sends Maricopa man to prison

Posted at 5:00 AM, Mar 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-19 08:00:09-04

A man has been sentenced to a year in prison for committing insurance fraud by falsely claiming that Native American artifacts were stolen from his house in Maricopa during a burglary.

A judge in Phoenix on Thursday sentenced 54-year-old Gerardo Alonzo Avila on his guilty plea to insurance fraud.

Authorities say Avila inflated his insurance claim for an actual burglary by stating that artifacts worth more than $220,000 were stolen.

The Attorney General's Office says Avila submitted photos of artifacts that didn't belong to him and that weren't stolen.

In fact, the office says the artifacts in question were on display at a heritage center run by the Gila River Indian Community.

The prosecution stemmed from an investigation by Liberty Mutual Insurance and the state Insurance Department's fraud unit.