SALT LAKE CITY — A Holladay man has been charged with purposely getting into 22 fender-bender crashes over the course of nearly six years in order to obtain insurance money.
Navid Monjazeb, 35, collected nearly $56,000 in insurance payments for the small crashes he intentionally caused between 2010 and 2015, causing "a significant danger to the public," charging documents allege.
Monjazeb was charged in 3rd District Court Tuesday with carrying on a pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony; 12 counts of making a false or fraudulent insurance claim, a third-degree felony; and two counts of forgery, a third-degree felony. He also faces seven counts of reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor.
It isn't clear from court documents precisely where Monjazeb allegedly caused the crashes, though investigators say they occurred "mostly within a 10-square-mile radius of the Salt Lake Valley."
"Many take place in the exact same locations," the charges state.
All of the crashes were similar in nature, according to police. Monjazeb is accused of alternating between three vehicles in the incidents: a Toyota Prius, an Audi A4 and a Saab 9-3.
"The victims indicate that they were moving in the same direction as the defendant, typically they are changing lanes, when suddenly the defendant's vehicle comes into contact with theirs. Most victims (said Monjazeb) was not near them and then suddenly he would move his vehicle forward as they attempted to change lanes, resulting in the accident," charging documents state.
After the collisions, Monjazeb allegedly accused the other drivers of being at fault for the crash and tried to intimidate them into paying him in cash rather than getting police involved.
"The defendant would also intimidate the victims into signing statements he prepared asserting that they were at fault. When police were called, the victim was placed at fault based on the assertions of the defendant," according to the charges.
The rear quarter panel of the victims' vehicles, as well as Monjazeb's front fenders, were damaged in most of the wrecks. Investigators say most of the victims paid for their own minor repairs. "However, the defendant's vehicle when submitted for inspection by the insurance company typically had thousands of dollars of damage. The damage was far in excess of what witnesses reported seeing at the time of the accident," the charges state.
Monjazeb is accused of requesting insurance payments for the same damage multiple times, denying there was prior damage or providing "false documentation showing that the damage had been repaired between accidents," the charges state.
Monjazeb allegedly made insurance claims earning him between about $1,200 and $4,500 per incident, totaling nearly $56,000 from insurance companies alone, according to investigators. The charges don't indicate whether any of the alleged victims paid him cash.
"It was determined that this repeating pattern was (Monjazeb's) method of executing his fraud," the charges state. "(He) would intentionally collide with vehicles or place his vehicle in a position where the accident was a complete certainty."
Six different law enforcement agencies have been involved in the investigation.
Monjazeb's criminal history in Utah is limited mostly to fines for misdemeanor traffic violations — including for a right of way offense and driving on a denied license charge since his alleged fraud began.
A warrant for his arrest was issued Tuesday.