Commissioner Jones Announces Suspension Of Central Valley Woman For Insurance Fraud
News: 2011 Press Release
Today, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that Martha Jane Terry, 63, has been arrested on 33 felony counts of insurance fraud including fiduciary theft, embezzlement and grand theft bilking unsuspecting policyholders, some of them seniors, out of their premiums. Terry was arrested on December 13, 2010 and booked into the Stanislaus County Jail. She was later released after posting $20,000 bail. Her arraignment has been set for February 2, 2011 in Stanislaus Superior Court.
"Any Licensed Insurance Agent that steals from policyholders will be fully investigated and prosecuted by my Department," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Bilking Californian's out of their premium payments leaves consumers extremely vulnerable and potentially without coverage should they get into an accident, have a health issue or suffer damage to their home and it will not be tolerated."
On January 12, 2011, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) issued an Order of Immediate Suspension against Martha Jane Terry pursuant to Section 1748.5(e)(1) of the California Insurance Code. The criminal complaint alleges that from October 2006 to September 2010, Martha Jane Terry stole and embezzled premiums from 11 consumers while acting as a licensed Broker/Agent at the Hughson Insurance Agency in Hughson, California, just outside of Modesto. CDI Investigators found that Martha Terry received payments for homeowner's and automobile insurance, but either failed to place the insurance or did not remit the full premiums to the insurer. In some cases, Martha issued the clients cash receipts and gave them automobile insurance ID cards showing they were insured, only to find that there was no insurance after being involved in an accident. When one of her alleged victims was involved in an accident and discovered she had no insurance, she sued Martha Terry and won a judgment against her for $7,500.00.
According to CDI investigators, Martha Terry did not have the authority to operate under the business name of Hughson Insurance.
Consumers who purchased insurance from Martha Terry are encouraged to call the insurance company to verify that coverage is in place. Consumers who believe they did not receive insurance they paid Martha Jane Terry for should call Investigator James Ochoa at the California Department of Insurance at (916) 854-5835.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $394 million in claims and premiums. 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 or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.