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Jewelry Store Owner Sentenced For Diamond Fraud

WESTMINTER (AP) — A Los Angeles jewelry store owner falsely reported a nearly $100,000 diamond theft and then collected the insurance money.

Lior Bitton pleaded guilty Friday to insurance fraud and was sentenced to five days in jail, 90 days of home confinement and probation.  Last year, 0ne of Bitton's Orange County employees was robbed of 20 diamonds.  Prosecutors say Bitton filed an insurance claim that listed a 4.2-carat diamond as one of the stolen gems.

After receiving the payout, Bitton tried to sell the diamond to a wholesaler in Israel. The wholesaler submitted the diamond for certification and learned it had been reported two months earlier.

The diamond will be turned over to the insurer.  Bitton will have to pay $99,000 in restitution.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.)

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