Department of Insurance cracks down on auto insurance fraud in Los Angeles area
News: 2014 Press Release
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The California Department of Insurance has continued its concerted effort to stamp out auto insurance fraud in the Los Angeles area, often viewed as the auto fraud capitol of the state. Fraudulent activity ranging from staged automobile accidents to fraudulent vehicle vandalism have been stamped out in recent months. Upon conviction, the individuals arrested for these crimes face from two to five years in prison and fines up to $50,000 for each offense.
"Over the last three years we have been successful in investigating and helping to prosecute all types of insurance crimes and
The following are a few highlights of some of the department's recent cases in the Los Angeles area:
- Carlos Mireles, 25, of Riverside reported his truck had been stolen and made an insurance claim. The department's investigation uncovered Mireles had been drinking at a party and crashed his truck. Mireles was arrested on May 21, 2014. The Riverside County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case.
- George Gallegos, 38, was allegedly involved in a traffic accident at a Sam's Club in Ontario, and was uninsured at the time of the accident. The investigation revealed that Gallegos purchased insurance after the accident and provided the information to the other party. The other party was asked by Gallegos to say the accident happened after the time he purchased the insurance. The insurance company uncovered the scheme, declined coverage and reported the fraudulent claim. Gallegos surrendered to the Rancho Cucamonga Courthouse on April 17, 2014. This case will be prosecuted by the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office.
- Brittani Harris, 26, of Oxnard was arrested on April 15, 2014 on insurance fraud and forgery charges. Harris let her insurance lapse but after being involved in an auto accident paid her lapsed policy. Harris failed to inform her agent that her vehicle had been in an accident. Allegedly, Harris called the next morning and filed a claim. It was also discovered that Harris altered a CHP incident report to legitimize her false insurance claim. The Ventura County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case.
- Michael and Brenda Berry allegedly conspired to leave their vehicle in Mexico and reported the vehicle had been stolen from Riverside County, in order to receive the insurance proceeds. Michael Berry is still outstanding. The Riverside County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case.
- Tanisha Kyle, 23, and another individual were involved in an airport collision the morning of March 18, 2010. Los Angeles Police responded and took a collision report. Later that day, Kyle along with Sheila Bryant, 48, and Shyama Flournoy, 27, reported they were involved in another collision while in the same vehicle. Department of insurance investigators discovered the second collision never happen. The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case.
- Jose Cerda, 36, of San Bernardino allegedly set fire to his own vehicle and then had his wife file an insurance claim resulting in an $18,000 insurance payout. Investigators discovered that the fire was the result of arson. This case will be prosecuted by the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office.
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.