News: 2009 Press Release
For Release: March 17, 2009
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Announces Long Beach Insurance Agent Surrenders in Connection with Grand Theft and Elder Abuse
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that Carlos Chavez, 39, of Long Beach, was charged with one felony count of elder abuse, three felony counts of computer fraud and four felony counts of grand theft. If convicted on all counts, Chavez faces a maximum of six years in prison. Bail is set at $130,000.
"Pocketing premium payments and leaving consumers uninsured is unacceptable and dangerous," said Commissioner Poizner. "CDI investigators will follow every lead to track down scam artists who seek to defraud consumers."
According to CDI investigators, Chavez collected at least $6,895 from five clients between August 2006 and September 2007, for the purpose of purchasing insurance products (homeowners, commercial general liability and workers' compensation). Chavez placed coverage for two of his clients, but allegedly failed to remit any premium, resulting in the insurance company sending cancellation notices on both policies. Both of these clients paid premium directly to the insurance company to reinstate their policies.
Chavez allegedly failed to place and remit premium to any insurance company for the other three clients and purportedly issued bogus certificates of insurance to two of these clients to give the impression that the coverage was legitimate. Chavez's alleged scam was discovered by the son of one of the victims, a senior citizen, who contacted Chavez to file a claim when his father's home was damaged in a fire. This victim had neither received a certificate of insurance nor a policy from Chavez. This victim subsequently discovered from the insurance company named in the quote that Chavez failed to place his coverage, resulting in an uncovered loss to the senior exceeding $60,000. This victim subsequently filed a complaint with the Department of Insurance.
This case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
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.
Please visit the Department of Insurance Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Callers from out of state, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
If you are a member of the public wishing information, please visit our Consumer Services.