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Man faces insurance fraud for arranging ATV theft

WILLMAR -- Brian Lee Paglusch, 40, of Paynesville, made his first appearance Thursday on a felony insurance fraud charge for allegedly having someone steal his four-wheeler, collecting the insurance money, getting the ATV back and hiding it on a farm.

He was released on his personal recognizance. His next appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court is June 1.

According to the complaint, on Aug. 16, 2006, a Willmar police officer was called to a High Avenue address to take a theft report. A man, Paglusch, reported that someone had stolen a 2005 Polaris Sportsman four-wheeler and a snowmobile trailer. Paglusch signed the forms required to report a stolen vehicle on Aug. 31.

On March 23 of this year, the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office received an anonymous letter stating that Paglusch had falsely reported the four-wheeler stolen, had collected insurance money and was still in possession of the vehicle. The letter also stated the four-wheeler was stored at a rural Atwater farm.

The next day, two detectives went to the farm, talked to the owner and learned that the ATV had been moved there about a week ago from a neighboring farm. The officers located the four-wheeler and determined that the vehicle identification number was the same as that of the ATV reported stolen in 2006.

Information from the insurance company showed that $5,186 had been paid out to Paglusch on his claim reporting the theft. An affidavit of restitution filed by the company claims a loss of $2,681, which notes the ATV has since been sold by the company at auction for $2,800.

Paglusch was interviewed and allegedly admitted to arranging for the four-wheeler to be stolen, making the insurance claim, paying off the bank note and having money left over. He said he got the ATV back seven to eight months after reporting it stolen.