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Man facing fraud charges after allegedly staging at least 23 car crashes in five years

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Posted at 10:00 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 00:01:08-05

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah -- A Salt Lake County man has been arrested for staging at least 23 car accidents and collecting more than $55,000 in insurance money over the past five years.

"Staged accidents are prevalent across the country, this is the first one we've seen of this nature in Utah in many, many years, so these are pretty rare here," said Armand Glick of the Utah Insurance Fraud Division.

According to the Utah Insurance Fraud Division, between January 2010 and December 2015, Navid Monjazeb of Cottonwood Heights was involved in 23 car accidents in Salt Lake County.

"This case came to us based on insurance companies who started seeing the same damage, with similar accident circumstances over the course of time," Glick said.

According to the state, most of these accidents occurred when the driver changed lanes. No injuries were reported in any of the incidents.

"He'll let them think that they are free to change lanes and then occupy the blind spot in such a position that an accident is sure to occur," Glick said. "And when they pull off the side of the road he is very aggressive and assertive in making them feel that they are the ones that caused the accident."

The state has been investigating these accidents for months. While analyzing pictures, they noticed some major red flags. They concluded in many of the accidents the suspect was driving around cars that were already damaged, and passing off the old damage as if it were new.

Monjazeb is facing multiple felonies, including 12 counts of insurance fraud. He remains in Salt Lake County Jail on $50,000 bond. The state also believes there could be more victims out there.

"They may have paid him cash for other accidents and police were never called and insurance claims weren't filed, and we don't know about those accidents," Glick said.