News: 2009 Press Release
For Release: November 18, 2009
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Announces Guilty Plea From Sunland Man Who Worked Second Job While On Disability
California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that Ronald Earl Hunt, 56, of Sunland has pled guilty to one count of insurance fraud and one count of tax evasion. He was ordered to pay $151,700 in restitution to Berkshire Life Insurance Co. of America and $31,000 to the California Franchise Tax Board. Hunt also was sentenced to five years of felony probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.
"Defrauding an insurance company is illegal and will get you a one way ticket to jail," said Commissioner Poizner. "California Department of Insurance fraud detectives work around the clock to stop criminals who defraud insurers and drive up the cost of insurance for everyone."
In Jan. 2007, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) received a complaint from Berkshire Life Insurance Co. of America alleging Hunt continued working as an interior designer while he collected disability benefits.
The CDI investigation confirmed Hunt worked as an interior designer from 2003 to 2006. Hunt intentionally and knowingly concealed his secondary employment from Berkshire Life by falsifying written statements and deceiving a company field representative. During the time Hunt claimed to be disabled, he collected approximately $400,546 in income as an interior designer while also collecting $147,600 in disability benefits from Berkshire Life. The California Franchise Tax Board subsequently investigated Hunt's income and discovered he failed to pay state taxes from 2003 to 2006.
Commissioner Poizner oversees 16 CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Approximately 1,900 insurance fraud-related arrests have been made by the Department of Insurance's enforcement division 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.
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