Two Fresno, Calif.-area residents have been arrested and charged with felony counts of insurance fraud and arson with the intent to defraud, according to the California Department of Insurance. If convicted, Branden John Cervantez, 26, of Fresno and Clarissa Marie Elisarraraz, 27, of Sanger, Calif., each could face as many as five years in prison and fines of as much as $50,000 for insurance fraud, three years in prison for the arson charge and additional fines and restitution.
An Urban Organized Auto Insurance Taskforce investigation alleges that on Nov. 25, 2007, Cervantez and Elisarraraz burned Elisarraraz’s 2004 Toyota Camry in southwest Fresno. When contacted by the Sanger Police Department, Cervantez and Elisarraraz reported the car had been stolen. Sanger Police Officers and Taskforce detectives confirmed the car was not stolen and that Elisarraraz and Cervantez burned the vehicle in an attempt to obtain insurance money.
Cervantez was arrested on Dec. 4, 2009, at his resident by Taskforce detectives and were assisted by the Fresno Police Dept. Canine Unit. Cervantez is a known member of the Bulldogs street gang. He was found hiding under his bed.
Elisarraraz was arrested Oct. 26, 2009.
The cases are being prosecuted by the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office.
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