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If convicted of the pending felony auto insurance fraud charges against him, a San Jose, Calif. man could face five years in prison. Severiano Becerra, 48, was arrested on Jan. 12, 2010 for allegedly ditching his car in Mexico and then reporting it stolen so he could file a fraudulent insurance claim.

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner reported that the arrest stems from an investigation by a California Department of Insurance (CDI) Urban Auto Fraud Task Force. The task force believes that on Nov. 27, 2008, Becerra drove his Dodge Dakota pickup truck down to Mexico, where he abandoned it and returned to San Jose. On Dec. 17, 2008, Becerra told the San Jose Police Department that his truck had been stolen that very day from a shopping center parking lot. Becerra signed and dated a stolen vehicle report taken by the police department. When the ink had barely dried, he promptly filed a claim with Infinity Insurance Co., signing and dating an affidavit of vehicle theft. The affidavit was notarized by Infinity Insurance.

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