Denver firefighter arrested for insurance fraud, fired

A 33-year-old Denver man was arrested last week following 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 press release the next day.

Chalchesa was a firefighter with the department for eight months. At the time of his arrest, his employment was still on probation, a department spokesman told CBS4.

Michael Chalcesa

Denver Police Department

Chalchesa is accused of falsifying insurance adjusters with information about the accident and alleged repairs to his car after the collision, and later making a false claim to have the damage repaired. He reportedly told assessors he bought parts for his Tesla from Craigslist, had a friend who worked for Tesla do the repairs, and a second friend who painted the bumper, according to the affidavit. However, he had no invoices for these repairs.

Chalchesa reportedly “started” or initiated a new auto insurance policy an hour after the accident. But he argued with an insurance company investigator that his coverage began before the accident.

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Prosecutors believe Chalchesa recruited his friends to also lie to investigators about the repairs. Those prosecutors studied bodycam videos, which Chalchesa’s affidavit said contradicted her memory of the facts of the accident, namely the severity of the damage and whether the car was towed.

They also learned that Chalchesa’s friend never worked for Tesla.

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AllState, which represented the other driver in the accident, filed a civil suit against Chalchesa a year after the accident. That insurance company’s attorney filed for the case to be dismissed a month and a half later, according to Arapahoe County court documents.

A detective from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office’s Financial Fraud Unit first interviewed Chalchesa a month before he was hired by the Denver Fire Department.

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Chalchesa was released on $5,000 bail on Saturday, two days after his arrest. He is scheduled to appear in Denver District Court on December 8 for a arraignment in the state’s case.