News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: February 2, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Poizner Announces Two San Jose Residents Arrested For Allegedly Falsifying Time of Auto Accident
California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced the arrests of Michael Gaudenzi, 45, and Robert Carter, 52, both of San Jose on charges of automobile insurance fraud. Gaudenzi was arrested Jan. 19 while Carter was arrested Jan. 15. Both were booked into the Santa Clara County Jail and are out on $25,000 bail.
"If people would just maintain the minimum amount of auto insurance as the law states they wouldn't feel compelled to commit fraud when an accident does happen," Commissioner Poizner said. "Auto insurance fraud costs California residents millions of dollars every year. That's why and we are so committed to bringing these criminals to justice."
A California Department of Insurance (CDI) Urban Auto Fraud Task Force investigation alleges that Gaudenzi submitted a fraudulent insurance claim and Carter conspired to commit insurance fraud after an accident involving Gaudenzi's Nissan 350Z driven by Robert Carter Jr., 19.
The investigation revealed that Gaudenzi allowed Carter to drive the vehicle on April 10, 2009. Carter was involved in a solo vehicle accident near the corner of South 21st St. and E. Williams St. in San Jose. When Carter told his father of the accident, the father arrived on the scene and towed the vehicle back to Gaudenzi's residence.
It is alleged by Task Force investigators that Gaudenzi did not have insurance on the vehicle at the time of the accident, but went online and opened a policy on the car the same day as the accident. Gaudenzi paid for the policy by check and the effective date of the policy became April 11, 2009.
Gaudenzi allegedly used the insurance company's online loss report system on April 12, 2009 to report an accident. According to Gaudenzi's online report, he claimed to have struck the center divider on the corner of South 21st St. and E. Williams St. in a solo vehicle accident on April 12, 2009. Carter Sr. told investigators he initially supported Gaudenzi's claims in order to protect his son. The Carters later admitted that the accident occurred on April 10, 2009. Carter Jr. was not charged for auto fraud as he was unaware of the alleged plot, CDI investigators said.
The Urban Organized Automobile Fraud Insurance Task Force is made up of CDI, California Highway Patrol and Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office investigators.
Commissioner Poizner oversees 16 CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Approximately 2,000 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.
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