A 43-year-old Topaz man who reported his 2000 Escalade stolen, then destroyed by fire, has been charged with insurance fraud and arson.
Bail is $30,000 for Hilario Vera-Sanchez who is facing charges of burning, aiding, and abetting burning of property with intent to defraud insurers, and third-degree arson.
According to court documents, Vera-Sanchez reported Oct. 26, 2013, that his 2000 Escalade had been stolen from the parking lot at Smith’s grocery in Gardnerville.
Within moments of making the report, Vera-Sanchez’s vehicle was discovered on fire on Kingston Lane near the intersection with Rubio Way in the Gardnerville Ranchos.
Vera-Sanchez told investigators he had been shopping at Smith’s, and when he came out, the vehicle was missing.
Investigators reviewed videotape from the store and did not observe the Escalade, but did notice Vera-Sanchez being dropped off in the parking lot in a dark pickup truck and walking out of the store about 15 minutes later.
He is observed waiting at a nearby fast-food restaurant until a sheriff’s deputy arrives to take the missing vehicle report.
After questioning, he reportedly admitted he was having engine problems with the vehicle and didn’t have enough money for repairs. He said a friend said he would take care of the Escalade for him. He reportedly parked the vehicle at Lampe Park; the friend picked it up and burned it. Vera-Sanchez claimed he didn’t tell the friend, who is reportedly in Mexico, to burn the Escalade. Vera-Sanchez said he paid $3,500 for the vehicle.
Vera-Sanchez was taken into custody on Tuesday.
He appeared in court Wednesday with an interpreter and court-appointed lawyer Derrick Lopez.
Lopez said his client was considering a settlement offer, and set the next court appearance for Jan. 29.