Los Angeles Jeweler Pleads Guilty to Insurance Fraud

A Los Angeles jewelry store owner pled guilty Feb. 4 to
fraudulently collecting more than $99,000 from his insurance company after falsely
reporting a stolen diamond, according to a press release from the Orange County
District Attorney’s Office.

Lior Bitton, owner of Pacific Diamonds and Gems in
Westminster, Calif., was convicted of one felony count of insurance fraud. He
was sentenced to three years of probation, five days in jail, and 90 days in
home confinement. He will also pay $99,000 in restitution.

According to prosecutors, Bitton told his insurance company
a 4.21 ct. diamond was missing after
one of his employees was robbed of 20 diamonds on Jan. 7, 2010.   

In March 2010, Bitton traveled to Israel and allegedly tried
to sell the stone to a wholesaler, who submitted it to the GIA for a
report. The wholesaler discovered it was the same diamond reported missing two
months earlier.

The diamond was recovered and will be returned to the
insurer.

Bitton’s attorney could not be reached for comment.