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News: 2012 Press Release
For Release: October 26, 2012
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Announces Arrest of Former Life Agent for Grand Theft, Burglary
Agent Alleged To Have Ripped-Off Victim At Home
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced that Vahagn Mkhikian, 27, of North Hollywood, has been arrested on three felony counts for violating Penal Code Section 459, burglary, and one felony count for violating Penal Code Section 487, grand theft. He is currently in custody and bail is set at $150,000. If convicted on all counts, he could face up to 10 years in state prison.
According to investigators, on or about July 2011, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) received a complaint that alleged Mkhikian, a licensed Life Insurance Agent, stole approximately $28,000 in premium payments from his client. The victim's premium was intended to supplement an existing annuity to increase his retirement savings.
The investigation revealed that, between January and December 2010, Mkhikian accepted premium payments from his 62-year-old client for the purpose of increasing the principal to the existing annuity. The victim entrusted him with two checks for $10,000 and $18,000, respectively, along with credit card payments totaling $8,995. Instead, the investigation revealed that he allegedly diverted these funds for personal use in an amount totaling $36,995. When confronted, Mkhikian attempted to conceal the theft of funds by making false statements and issuing bogus documents. The burglary charges are a result of Mkhikian meeting in the victim's home numerous times to initiate and further his theft scheme.
This case was investigated by CDI's Investigation Division, Criminal Operations - Point of Sale [C.O.P.S.] Unit and is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office - Elder Abuse Unit. This case was investigated and prosecuted under the Life and Annuity Consumer Protection Program (LACPP). LACPP provides grant funds to counties for the prosecution of financial abuse in life insurance and annuity product transactions.
Mkhikian's Life Agent license expired on August 31, 2012. Clients of Mkhikian who believe they may have been victimized should contact Supervising Criminal Investigator Robert Brockway (714) 712-7600.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2013 the California Department of Insurance received more than 170,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $63 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.