Five arrested in million-dollar mobile phone insurance scam
News: 2013 Press Release
SACRAMENTO - Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that five Sacramento area residents were arrested by Department of Insurance fraud investigators and booked into the Sacramento County jail and charged with multiple felony counts related to alleged insurance fraud totaling nearly $1 million.
Investigators allege the suspects, some of whom were employees of a major mobile phone service provider, accessed consumer account information to identify customers with high-end phones and conspired with others to file more than 1,900 fraudulent insurance claims for damaged or stolen phones. The suspects had the replacement phones shipped to their homes and those of co-conspirators. The fraudulent claims totaled more than $900,000.
"Insurance crimes impact every consumer through higher costs and increased premiums," said Commissioner Dave Jones. "This arrest by our investigators sends a clear message that I will not tolerate those who would take advantage of their position to defraud California consumers. I will continue to diligently protect consumers."
Each of the five suspects was charged with one felony count of conspiracy, one felony count of grand theft, one felony count of unlawfully possessing the identification of ten or more persons and 29 felony counts of presenting a fraudulent insurance claim. Charges were filed by the Sacramento County District Attorney's office. Suspects are scheduled for arraignment in Sacramento County court Friday, May 17.
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Media Notes: Case background - In December of 2010 Asurion Insurance Services reported a suspected insurance fraud ring. The scam involved using personal information to receive replacement mobile phones based on false insurance claims. Three employees of a major mobile phone carrier accessed confidential customer information, specifically targeting customers with high value cell phones and insurance policies. Accomplices then used the stolen information to file more than 1,900 fraudulent insurance claims, with a total loss valued at over $905,000.
According to investigators, there is no indication that consumer identities or personal account information was stolen or used by suspects.
Louis Lovett, 29; bail set at $50,000
Aleta Pinkney, 32; bail set at $50,000
Antonio Miller, 24; bail set at $25,000
Anthony Stanford, 24; bail set at $25,000
Adi Qalivutu, 22; bail set at $25,000
Photo booking link: http://bit.ly/10ITviP
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.