Jewelry expert testifies in $20M insurance fraud-fires case

A jewelry expert is testifying against a political fundraiser charged in a $20 million insurance scheme that Pennsylvania prosecutors say involved three mansion fires in five years.

Prosecutors hope to show GOP hostess Claire Risoldi claimed losses for jewelry that later turned up in her bank deposit box.

Prosecution expert Don Palmieri believes that at least some of the jewelry reported stolen after a 2013 fire were custom pieces and Risoldi wouldn’t have owned duplicates.

The weeklong preliminary hearing in Bucks County Court will determine if Risoldi, her two adult children and two others will face trial.

Her husband fatally shot himself in February, citing the pressure of defending against what he called false accusations.

Authorities say the family lived lavishly on insurance proceeds at their 10-acre estate near Philadelphia.

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