News: 2009 Press Release
For Release: May 21, 2009
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Announces Rancho Cucamonga Man Arrested On Charges of Stealing $146,000 From An Elder
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced today that Edilberto Gonzalez Riveral, Jr., 57, of Rancho Cucamonga, was arrested at his home Wednesday and charged with multiple felony counts, including grand theft and theft from an elder. Riveral was booked into Orange County Central Jail. Bail is set at $250,000. He faces a maximum of 20 years in state prison if convicted on all charges.
"I will not tolerate those who take advantage of California seniors for financial gain," said Commissioner Poizner. "If you attempt to steal from any consumer, especially a senior, Department of Insurance investigators will find you, track you down, and put you behind bars."
In December 2002, Riveral, then a life insurance agent, persuaded a senior client to transfer all of her funds - $114,000 - from existing annuities to annuities with an insurance company that Riveral represented. Riveral then allegedly liquidated the woman's annuities without her knowledge. When the insurance company notified the woman of the transactions, she contacted Riveral, and requested that the money be placed back in the annuities. Riveral then allegedly convinced the woman to write several checks totaling more than $87,000, payable to Synergia Enterprises, in order to correct the problem.
In August 2005, the woman received a notice from the IRS that she owed more than $8,000 in taxes, related to the income from the sale of her annuities. The woman attempted to contact Riveral, who was allegedly non-responsive. After enlisting help from her daughter, the two contacted the local police, and in July 2007, she filed a complaint with the California Department of Insurance.
The CDI investigation revealed that Synergia Enterprises was a company set up by Riveral. Bank records show that the woman's money was deposited into the Synergia Enterprises account. Bank records of Synergia show no activity consistent with any business operation. At least 34 checks from Synergia Enterprises' bank account went into the accounts of Riveral's relatives, until Synergia's account had been depleted of all of Browns funds. Riveral's family members used the money to pay for personal expenses, and some of the money went back to Riveral.
The woman's total loss exposure is estimated to be $146,000.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting this case.
Commissioner Poizner oversees sixteen CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Close to 1900 insurance fraud-related arrests have been made by the Department of Insurance's Enforcement Branch since Commissioner Poizner took office in 2007 - more arrests than have been made during any other two year period, under any previous insurance commissioner.
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