Insurance and bond agent steals more than $100,000 from LA area businesses
News: 2014 Press Release
"When Santillan stole his client's insurance premium money, he exposed business owners to great financial risk by leaving them without insurance coverage," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "My enforcement team will aggressively investigate and bring to justice any insurance agent or broker that violates their fiduciary responsibility in the name of greed."
Investigators allege Santillan, aka Art Sanchez, issued premium checks that did not require the payer's signature, and then instead of sending these premiums to his clients' insurers, he cashed the checks for his own personal use. Santillan did not forward premium payments to purchase policies for his clients, which left his victims at risk for uninsured losses.
Santillan attempted to cover up his theft by providing both falsified and legitimate certificates of insurance and premium finance agreements. In some instances, he allegedly made partial premium payments but the policies were later cancelled by insurers due to lack of full payment.
The Department of Insurance launched an investigation in late 2012 after receiving complaints about Santillan's business practices regarding the sale of commercial auto, general liability, and worker's compensation insurance and bonds. Some of his victims discovered cancelled checks that exceeded the cost of the insurance policy they had agreed to purchase.
The Department of Insurance is looking for additional victims in this case and encourages anyone that may have done business with Sid Santillan, Art Sanchez, Insurance Service Center or Isidro Santillan Insurance Services to contact the Investigation Division, Valencia Regional office at (661) 253-7500.
- Santillan's booking photo available on the CDI Flickr page.
- The Los Angeles District Attorney also filed four additional felony charges against Santillan, as a result of an LAPD Mission Station Investigation.
- A check authorization draft is a legal copy of the check that is created by the merchant, and authorized by the account holder, but not created by the account holder. It is created by the merchant. The account holder must authorize the merchant to create a check draft, and this can be done by phone, fax or online. This authorization allows the merchant to draft a designated amount of money from the customer's checking account or credit card.
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 $469 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.