Los Angeles Jewelry Store Owner Faces $99,000 Insurance Fraud Charges

A Los Angeles jewelry store owner is being charged with
fraudulently collecting more than $99,000 from his insurance company after falsely
reporting a 4.21 carat diamond stolen.

Lior Bitton, owner of Pacific Diamonds and Gems jewelry
store in Westminster, Calif., is being charged with one felony count of
insurance fraud, according to a press release from the Orange County District
Attorney’s Office.

Bitton is accused of a filing a claim with his insurance
company after one of his employees was robbed of 20 diamonds on Jan. 7. The
claim included the theft of a 4.21-carat diamond that Bitton had certified with
the Gemological Institute of America in Sept. 2009.  

According to the report, Bitton allegedly took a trip to
Israel in March 2010 and met with a diamond wholesaler. Bitton is said to have
provided the wholesaler with the 4.21-carat diamond he reported stolen two
months earlier. The Israeli wholesaler submitted the diamond to the GIA for
certification when the GIA discovered it was the same stone previously
certified in March 2009.

Bitton is being held on $100,000 bail and could face a
maximum of five years in state prison if convicted. He is scheduled to be
arraigned at the West Justice Center in Westminster on Dec. 3.

Bitton’s lawyer could not be reached for comment.