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Insurance Commissioner Jones Announces Arrests of Inland Empire Business Owners and Employee for Insurance Fraud

News: 2011 Press Release

For Release: April 14, 2011
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Insurance Commissioner Jones Announces Arrests of Inland Empire Business Owners and Employee for Insurance Fraud
$10,000,000 in forged checks alleged

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced that Steven Manchester, 50, Bob Roberts Jr., 51, and Heather Reavis, 40, have been arrested on multiple felony counts including conspiracy, forgery and grand theft in a scheme to defraud mortgage companies. Search warrants were served yesterday at three Inland Empire and two Orange County locations. The three suspects were principals of the Rancho Cucamonga and Tustin franchise of ServiceMaster, a restoration, clean-up and construction business that is commonly hired following an insured property loss.

It is estimated that the ring perpetrated over $10,000,000 in forgeries and over $100,000 in Insurance Fraud. All three suspects were booked into the San Bernardino County Jail and are awaiting arraignment. Bail has been set at $1,000,000 for each suspect.

"This case exhibits a willful and flagrant disregard for the law and an abuse of the insurance system," said Commissioner Jones. "Let this stand as a warning to those who think they can get away with it, my Department will investigate."

The principal owners, Manchester and Roberts Jr., along with the Controller, Reavis, of the franchise company SCMS Inc., dba ServiceMaster-Rancho Cucamonga & ServiceMaster-Tustin, have been involved in an insurance fraud scheme in which they have fraudulently endorsed mortgage companies' banking information on the back of the checks issued for work allegedly completed by their company. Additional charges were filed because evidence revealed that ServiceMaster had not rendered all services they had billed for or were contracted to complete during the restoration of an insured's residence after a property loss.

The Fraud Division of the California Department of Insurance (CDI) received assistance during this investigation from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Contractor's State Licensing Board. Also providing assistance were the victims' insurance companies, including: Mercury Insurance Company, Farmers Insurance Company, State Farm Insurance Company, Hartford Insurance Company, Nationwide Mutual, California Casualty, Balboa Insurance Company, Century National, Pacific Specialty, and Traveler's Insurance Company. Additionally, CDI received a great deal of help from the victims' financial institutions, including: Schools First Federal Credit Union, Wells Fargo Bank, First Franklin Financial Corporation, Countrywide, VISTERRA Credit Union, HSBC Finance Corporation, and INDYMAC Mortgage Services.

If you have any questions, please contact Sgt. Joe Chavez at the CDI Fraud Division-Inland Empire Regional Office at (909) 919-2200 or San Bernardino County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michael Fermin at (909) 891-3346.

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 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 $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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