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Man claimed Mustang stolen, charged with insurance fraud

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A man who claimed someone stole his souped-up Ford Mustang is now facing criminal charges.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office arrested 44-year-old Jonathan Ryan, of Palm Beach Gardens, on charges of insurance fraud and perjury.

The investigation began last December when authorities said Ryan filed a report that someone stole his 2015 Ford Mustang GT from an industrial business park in unincorporated Riviera Beach. Ryan claimed he just put in $18,000 worth of upgrades on the car. According to the sheriff's office, Geico estimated the car to be worth $20,400.52 with estimated repairs at $22,336.98. The car was considered a total loss with a settlement of $20,400.52.

Investigators reviewed surveillance video from a nearby business which showed a Honda pulling up to the Mustang on the night of the reported theft. A man got out of the Honda, hopped into the Mustang and followed the Honda out of the lot. According to the report, days later Riviera Beach Police found the Mustang partially submerged in a canal near Garden Road and Reese Avenue, not far from where Ryan reported his car stolen.

A Geico investigator told the sheriff's office that he recognized Ryan in the surveillance video and, as a result, put the insurance investigation into inactive status. PBSO also learned of a recorded phone call between Ryan and an insurance agent during which he talked about his call for a tow truck at 1 a.m. after an incident on Dec. 4, 2018. Ryan said his friend lost control of the car and ended up stuck in a grassy area. Investigators noted the area is just west of where police recovered the car.

Investigators traced the Honda on the surveillance video to Ryan's ex-wife. She admitted being in the Honda with Ryan that night. She told deputies he got into his Mustang and drove off. According to the arrest report, she didn't know exactly what Ryan did with his car, but she believed he got rid of it based on conversations she had with him.

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Ryan is free on bond.

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