WEST JORDAN — A Holladay man accused of deliberately causing 22 car crashes in order to collect insurance money has been sentenced to jail.
Navid Monjazeb, 37, was sentenced Monday to 120 days in jail for the scam, followed by 36 months of probation. During that time, Monjazeb will have to pay nearly $56,000 in restitution to six different insurance companies, as well as an additional $10,000 to the fraud division of Utah's Department of Insurance.
The deal with prosecutors allowed Monjazeb to avoid a possible prison sentence. He pleaded guilty in September to four counts of wrongful appropriation, a third-degree felony. Once Monjazeb has paid restitution, the Utah Attorney General's Office has agreed to reduce the four convictions to misdemeanors, according to court documents.
Monjazeb was originally charged in January 2016 with 15 felonies and seven misdemeanors: carrying on a pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony; 12 counts of making a false or fraudulent insurance claim and two counts of forgery, third-degree felonies; and seven counts of reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor.
Police say Monjazeb deliberately caused 22 fender-bender crashes between 2010 and 2015, most of which occurred within a 10-square-mile radius in Salt Lake County, according to charging documents.
All of the crashes were similar in nature. Police say Monjazeb alternated 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.3 comments on this story
After the collisions, Monjazeb accused the other drivers of being at fault for the crash, tried to intimidate them into paying him in cash rather than getting police involved and urged them to sign statements he prepared asserting that they were at fault, according to the charges.
Monjazeb 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 victims paid him cash.
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 in the midst of his alleged fraud.