Woodbury police were familiar with the name Cheryl Ann Tchida when an insurance-fraud investigator called regarding a suspicious claim she filed last fall.
The local cops had dealt with her earlier in 2010 when she reported a burglary that never happened and filed more than $20,000 in false insurance claims.
She's now accused of falsely reporting thousands of dollars in wind/hail damage and sending doctored receipts to her insurance company.
For the second time in little more than a year, Tchida, 49, has been charged with felony insurance fraud.
A working phone number for Tchida could not be found Thursday.
An investigator with Farmers Insurance began looking into Tchida after she called in the fall to report that a trampoline in her back yard had been damaged by a tree that fell during a storm. An adjuster went to her home to inspect the trampoline, but no other damages or items were discussed, according to a criminal complaint filed April 4 in Washington County District Court.
After the initial claim, Tchida reportedly called to add items to the list of damaged property, including pool floats, a wood swing set, two grills and part of her deck. The adjuster did not go back to the home when items were added, the complaint states.
Instead, Tchida was asked to provide documentation.
She sent a receipt purportedly for the purchase of a $3,500 swing set. The receipt was sent Nov. 29 and showed a purchase date of Nov. 28. The insurance company
determined the receipt was a fake, but not until after Tchida had been paid, the complaint states.
Tchida also sent a receipt for a $2,300 grill, which she claimed she had already thrown away. When investigators called to ask her about it, because Sears had no record of the purchase, she reportedly withdrew her claim.
The insurance company's investigator contacted Woodbury police, knowing the department had previously investigated Tchida for insurance fraud.
When Woodbury officers interviewed Tchida this month, she admitted she had doctored the receipts, the complaint states. She also said the grill in question had actually been discarded months before the storm because a burner had stopped working.
The felony charge against her carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Tchida was convicted of insurance fraud just four months ago, stemming from a January 2010 incident. She was ordered to serve 36 days of electronic home monitoring and seven years' probation.
Early on the morning of Jan. 15, 2010, Tchida called Woodbury police and said her home — where she and six others lived — had been burglarized. When officers arrived, she told them a 72-inch television had been taken from her living room.
Over the course of that investigation, Tchida told officers that other items had been stolen, including a large, wheeled tool box full of tools, a carpet cleaner, a jewelry box containing $6,500 in cash, Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation game consoles and two gas-powered scooters worth a combined $1,000.
Officers became suspicious when they looked into the issue of the missing TV.
Tchida said she bought the TV from Circuit City in 2008 and provided a model number. But, it turned out, that model of television was not sold until April 2009, a month after Circuit City closed because of bankruptcy.
Officers eventually learned that the scooters had been destroyed in a house fire two years earlier.
They found the Wii and the PlayStation in the room of one of Tchida's children.
And when they searched the home, police found the TV stashed in a storage area above the garage.
Farmers Insurance told Woodbury police at the time that Tchida had made a claim for losses totaling $21,500.
She was charged in February 2010 with insurance fraud and filing a false police report. She was convicted in January.
Her initial court appearance for the new charge is May 19.
Hmmm. It appears that the home detention Cheryl Ann got for her last $20,000 ripoff didn't quite have the desired rehabilitative effect. Welcome to Minnesota's nation-leading recidivist list, C.A.!