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CA Department of Insurance

Former San Diego Agent Sentenced in Theft Case

News: 2012 Press Release

For Release: October 26, 2012
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Former San Diego Agent Sentenced in Theft Case
Agent Plead Guilty to Four Felony Counts in $3.3 Million Premium Theft

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced that formerly licensed insurance agent James Henry Sim, 66, of San Diego, has been sentenced to a stayed term of four years and four months in State Prison. Sims has been taken into custody and booked into jail where he will serve a term of 365 days.

According to investigators, in October of 2008 the California Department of Insurance (CDI) received numerous complaints regarding Sim, doing business as Westland Insurance Brokers. The complaints stated that Sim failed to remit over two million dollars in premiums that he collected. Based on the information received, CDI investigators executed multiple search warrants to gather evidence during the course of the investigation.

The investigation revealed that while Sim operated Westland Insurance Brokers during 2008, he stole approximately $3.3 million in insurance premiums collected on behalf of numerous clients seeking commercial insurance coverage. Sim breached his fiduciary duties, by taking large amounts of money, leaving insurance companies unpaid and exposing his clients/victims to potential loss. His actions caused businesses to close, and the proprietors of them to move out of state, and civil suits to be brought.

"This former agent placed his own greed and financial gain ahead of the interests of his clients," said Commissioner Jones. "Our actions will ensure that no other individuals will become a victim of this former agent's illicit behavior."

On November 26, 2008, CDI issued a "bad actor" order prohibiting Sim from participating in the business of insurance. Sim's insurance license, as well as the organizational license for Westland Insurance Brokers has subsequently been revoked.

In court on October 10, 2012, Sim plead guilty to four felony counts; two counts for violating Penal Code Section 487 (a), grand theft, one count for violating Insurance Code Section 1733, theft of funds by a fiduciary, and one count for violating Penal Code Section 506, embezzlement. In addition, Sim admitted in the guilty plea to the aggravated white collar crime enhancement for loss in excess of $1.3 million and a prison presumption sentence. The court committed to a maximum seven year prison term sentence and a stipulated loss between $2 and $3 million.

A restitution hearing will be set at a later date.

The investigation was conducted by CDI's Investigation Division and was prosecuted by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.

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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.

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