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CA Department of Insurance

Former Ventura County agent convicted of embezzling insurance premiums

News: 2014 Press Release

For Release: August 6, 2014
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Former Ventura County agent convicted of embezzling insurance premiums

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - Matthew Arriaga, 37, of Ventura pleaded guilty to four counts of felony grand theft after embezzling more than $99,440 in premiums prior to his arrest in October of 2013. While out on bail, Arriaga continued his criminal activity which added to his charges and landed him back in custody.

"The fact that this former insurance agent lied to consumers and then continued to commit the same crime while out on bail is appalling," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "California has a vibrant insurance marketplace and the criminal activity of those looking to degrade the trust of professional agents will not be tolerated."

A Department of Insurance investigation revealed that Arriaga was collecting premium payments for commercial liability policies and failing to place the policies with an insurance company. In some instances Arriaga would forward funds after his clients' policies were cancelled due to lack of payment. According to investigators, while out on bail and working under a suspended license, Arriaga continued to embezzle funds from at least two additional victims. Thanks to insurance investigators' efforts in discovering the continued criminal activity, with cooperation with the Ventura County District Attorney's Office, Arriaga's bail was revoked and he remained in custody from May 19, 2014 until his conviction.

Arriaga is the second suspect to plead guilty to multiple felony charges stemming from an investigation into a wholesale and retail commercial insurance agency co-owned by Arriaga.

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Media Notes:

  • Arriaga is scheduled to be sentenced on December 8, 2014.
  • April 3, 2014 David Patrick Clark, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of Grand theft and has been sentenced to 90 days in Ventura County Jail, five years formal felony probation and ordered to pay more than $97,445 in restitution to victims.
  • A third suspect, James Fayed III, 40, who worked with Arriaga and Clark, is due in Ventura County Superior Court on September 29, 2014 for a preliminary hearing on four felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement.
  • License Status of Matt Arriaga #0D93870 - inactive following suspension of license on January 27, 2014.

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 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 $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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