Hazel Park man caught faking burglary to get insurance claim

Scam was a desperate act motivated by debt, police say

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published September 26, 2012

HAZEL PARK — A cash-strapped man staged a burglary at his home to try to secure an insurance claim, but authorities were quick to note the details didn’t add up, leading to a confession on the spot.

Wisam Yousif, 36, of Hazel Park, is charged with filing a false report of a felony. This is a felony itself, punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a $2,000 fine.

Yousif was arraigned before Magistrate James Paterson in Hazel Park 43rd District Court on Tuesday, Sept. 11. He was released after posting 10 percent of the $5,000 cash or surety bond.

It all started around 10 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9, when police were called to Yousif’s home in the 23000 block of Carlisle. A neighbor had noticed a door to the house was wide open, and an alarm could be heard going off inside.

Officers arrived at the scene in minutes and discovered everything in disarray. Jewelry, a television and a computer had gone missing from the household. A laser hair removal system, allegedly worth $20,000, had also been stolen from downstairs, where the basement had been configured as a beauty salon.

Police pulled Yousif’s cellphone number off their database and called him up regarding the apparent burglary. When Yousif arrived at the scene, he reviewed what was missing and wished to file an insurance claim.

But given the scale of the crime, the timing between when it occurred and when police arrived didn’t make sense. It soon became obvious no burglary had taken place.

“We were led to suspect this incident was staged because with the amount of items that appeared to have been gone through and moved, it would’ve taken a lot longer than a couple minutes to ransack the house and make it look the way it did,” said Hazel Park Police Chief Martin Barner.

“(Yousif) was confronted by the responding officers; they said it appeared he was not being truthful in alleging this crime,” Barner said. “That’s when (Yousif) admitted to it being staged.”

Yousif reportedly told police he attempted the scam because he was deep in debt. In the meantime, the missing items had been hidden at another location in Hazel Park.

The chief said that while he doesn’t condone the man’s actions, he understands how people sometimes grow desperate and turn to crime.

“I guess bad economic times, and different family and financial obligations, will at times cause normally good people to do bad things,” Barner said.