Former Ventura County insurance agent arrested for premium theft and issuing bogus insurance
News: 2015 Press Release
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Steven Tinto, 50, of Simi Valley, was arraigned Monday on two felony charges of insurance fraud and grand theft. Tinto allegedly pocketed a client's premium payment instead of forwarding the payment to the insurer and compounded his crime by issuing a bogus insurance certificate.
"This case serves as a reminder that fraud is a costly crime for insurers and consumers," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones."Tinto's alleged theft left the policyholder at great financial risk and their workers in danger because Tinto did not forward the premium to the insurance company, leaving the consumer without coverage."
In January 2014, Tinto received a $1,500 premium payment on a workers' compensation insurance policy from a licensed contractor. Instead of sending the payment to the insurer, Tinto pocketed the cash. When a client of the contractor requested proof of insurance, Tinto faxed a bogus insurance certificate that indicated the contractor was insured for $100,000. When the ruse was discovered by the policyholder, Tinto issued two checks to his client as a supposed refund of premium. Tinto's checks were returned due to insufficient funds and the policyholder was left exposed to the potential risk of an uninsured loss.
This case was investigated by the California Department of Insurance and is being prosecuted by the Ventura County District Attorney's Office. Tinto is due back in court on June 8, 2015 for a preliminary hearing.
- Steven Tinto was arrested April 20, 2015 and booked into Ventura County Jail.
- Steven Tinto transacted business as Outback Insurance Services.
- The Department of Insurance is reminding consumers to check their insurance agent's license status, and look for any past enforcement efforts and always make sure they receive a copy of a full policy from the insurance company issuing the policy.
- As of April 30, 2014 Steven Tinto is no longer a licensed agent by the California Department of Insurance.
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 www.insurance.ca.gov. 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.