Insurance Commissioner Jones Announces Sentencing of Insurance Agent for Fraud
News: 2011 Press Release
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced that Albert Ricardo Prince, 54, of Bakersfield was sentenced to one year in jail for each of three felony counts of fraud he was charged with in Kern County Superior Court. Prince was immediately remanded to the Kern County Sheriff where his sentence has begun, and where his remaining time will be served concurrently in the Kern County Jail. Prince was also sentenced to three years felony probation and ordered to make restitution to 21 of his victims in an amount to be determined by the probation department.
"This agent's egregious behavior put his clients at great financial risk," said Commissioner Jones. "His deceit and disregard for his policyholders could have led to tragic results."
Prince's conviction and sentencing resulted from an investigation conducted by the California Department of Insurance (CDI), Investigation Division, Valencia Regional Office. According to investigators, between March 1, 2006 and September 30, 2009, as the owner of Prince Insurance Agency, Prince accepted over $400,000.00 from his clients to pay premiums for homeowners insurance, commercial liability insurance and performance (construction) bonds. Instead of paying the premiums on behalf of his clients, he misappropriated the premiums for his own personal use.
Prince failed to place coverage with insurers and knowingly prepared fraudulent Certificates of Insurance, leading his clients to believe that coverage was in place. Unbeknownst to numerous commercial clients, Prince also knowingly obtained fraudulent performance bonds from a bogus off-shore surety company, thereby exposing his clients and numerous governmental agencies to uninsured losses.
As a result of the CDI investigation, the Department issued an Order of Immediate Suspension to Prince in September of 2009, which prohibited Prince from conducting any type of business related to insurance, including the collection of premiums. In October 2010, Prince surrendered his insurance license.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $288 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.