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Willmar, Minn., jeweler in court on insurance fraud charge

WILLMAR -- Todd Patrick Paffrath, 59, of Spicer, made his first court appearance Tuesday on a felony insurance fraud over a claim he submitted for a diamond ring stolen from his store in November.

At the hearing before District Judge Michael J. Thompson in Kandiyohi County District Court, Paffrath's omnibus hearing was set for Aug. 30.

Unconditional bail was set at $10,000 with conditional release allowed on Paffrath's personal recognizance. At the request of Paffrath's attorney, Daniel Mohs, the usual release condition restricting travel to within the state was waived by Thompson. Mohs indicated that his client had an out-of-state vacation scheduled and also needs to travel for business purposes.

According to the criminal complaint against him, Paffrath is alleged to have filed an insurance claim for a stolen diamond ring for an amount greater than the ring's alleged value. The stolen ring was recovered at a Twin Cities-area pawn shop and later appraised for about $10,000 less than the claimed amount.

Paffrath returned the entire insurance claim check, for $15,528.10, when he learned the ring had been recovered by Willmar police.

Thomas Scott Wright, 54, of Atwater, was charged Feb. 14 with felony theft for allegedly taking the ring from the Paffrath store on Nov. 30. A warrant for Wright's arrest was issued March 8 after he failed to appear for a court hearing. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of pawning the property of another in Anoka County and failed to appear in court in that case.

According to the complaint against Paffrath, he allegedly admitted twice, once on the phone to an insurance agent and in person to a state insurance fraud investigator, that the paperwork submitted in the insurance claim was not for the diamond ring that was stolen and later recovered at the pawn shop.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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