A 33-year-old Denver man was arrested last week after a state investigation into a 2019 traffic accident. Denver Police Department officers arrested Michael G. Chalchesa Thursday on four counts of insurance fraud.
Chalchesa’s employment with the Denver Fire Department was terminated “effective immediately,” DFD said in a news release the next day.
Chalchesa served as a firefighter with the department for eight months. At the time of his arrest, his job was still on probation, a department spokesperson told CBS4.
Chalchesa is accused of falsifying information provided to adjusters about the crash and alleged repairs to his car following the collision, and then making a false claim to repair the damage. He allegedly told the experts that he bought parts for his Tesla from Craigslist, that a friend who worked for Tesla made the repairs and that a second friend painted the bumper, according to the affidavit. However, he had no invoices for these repairs.
Chalchesa reportedly “incepted” or initiated coverage for a new auto insurance policy an hour after the crash. But he argued with an insurance company investigator that his cover started before the crash.
Prosecutors believe Chalchesa also recruited his friends to lie to investigators about reparations. Those prosecutors studied body camera video, which the affidavit said contradicted Chalchesa’s recollection of the facts of the accident, namely the severity of the damage and whether the car had been towed.
They also learned that Chalchesa’s friend had never worked for Tesla.
AllState, representing the other driver in the crash, filed a civil lawsuit against Chalchesa a year after the crash. That insurance company’s attorney moved to dismiss the case a month and a half later, according to Arapahoe County court documents.
A criminal investigator from the Financial Fraud Unit of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office first interviewed Chalchesa a month before he was hired by the Denver Fire Department.
Chalchesa was released on a $5,000 personal bond on Saturday, two days after his arrest. He is due in Denver County Court Dec. 8 for arraignment in the state’s case.
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