News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: March 8, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Sacramento man was convicted and sentenced on March 4 to 240 days in the Sacramento County Jail, five years probation and ordered to pay more than $26,365 in restitution to State Farm Insurance Company.
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced today that Joseph A. Torrez, 40, of Sacramento, was convicted and sentenced on March 4 to 240 days in the Sacramento County Jail, five years probation and ordered to pay more than $26,365 in restitution to State Farm Insurance Company.
"This is a reminder that committing insurance fraud can result in real jail time and cost real dollars," said Commissioner Poizner. "CDI enforcement officials will continue working with local partners to root out fraud wherever it's being perpetrated."
On April 22, 2009, Torrez, then a sergeant for the California Department of Corrections, was arrested at his place of employment, Folsom State Prison, and booked into the Sacramento County Jail on insurance fraud charges.
On March 9, 2009, the National Insurance Fraud Crime Bureau contacted the Sacramento County Urban Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force with information regarding the possible location of a stolen motorcycle. State Farm had previously paid approximately $18,654 for a loss claim on the motorcycle. An anonymous caller contacted the insurance company, alerting them that insurance fraud had allegedly been committed.
The Auto Task Force discovered that Torrez claimed his 2005 custom motorcycle had been stolen from a garage in Sacramento County on August 5, 2008. He claimed that when he arrived at his mother's home, the yard gate was ajar, and the roll-up door to the garage where he stored his motorcycle was open. Torrez claimed he discovered his motorcycle had been taken from the garage where it was housed. Torrez reported the theft to his insurance company on August 5, 2008.
In March 2009, the anonymous informant led the Auto Task Force to the location of the motorcycle at a home in Galt. The motorcycle was seized.
The Sacramento County Urban Fraud Task Force is comprised of investigators from the California Department of Insurance, the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office and the California Highway Patrol. The Auto Task Force, which has been in operation since 2001, targets any form of organized auto insurance fraud, including staged theft and vandalism rings, staged auto accident rings and other types of organized insurance fraud. The case was prosecuted by the Sacramento 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.
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