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Willmar jeweler charged with fraud over stolen ring

WILLMAR, Minn. -- A Willmar jeweler has been charged with felony insurance fraud over a claim he submitted for a diamond ring stolen from his store in November.

An Atwater, Minn., man was charged in February with felony theft for taking the ring from the jewelry store.

Todd Patrick Paffrath, 59, of Spicer, Minn., is alleged to have filed an insurance claim for the stolen diamond ring for an amount greater than the ring's alleged value. The stolen ring was later recovered and appraised for about $10,000 less than the claimed amount.

An insurance company issued a check for $15,528.10 to Paffrath on Jan. 12, for the claimed value of the stolen ring, less the $200 insurance deductible. The complaint notes that Paffrath mailed the entire amount back to the insurance company on Jan. 25, after learning the diamond ring had been located at a Twin Cities pawn shop.

The charge against Paffrath was filed July 18 in Kandiyohi County District Court. His first appearance is scheduled for Aug. 15 before District Judge Michael J. Thompson.

Thomas Scott Wright, 54, of Atwater, was charged Feb. 14 with a felony charge of theft for allegedly taking the ring from the Paffrath store. The ring was recovered from a pawn ship in late January.