Former Southland insurance broker guilty of stealing premiums
News: 2015 Press Release
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -Just moments after being sentenced for felony insurance fraud and grand theft, Mia Chang, 51, former insurance broker and owner of Lotte Insurance Services, returned $19,218 in stolen premiums with interest to the owner of a sizable construction company.
Chang collected full payment for an annual workers' compensation insurance policy and pocketed a majority of the victim's premium, forwarding only a small amount to the insurer and leaving the business owner without coverage and at considerable financial risk.
"Chang violated her clients' trust when she stole their premiums and left them vulnerable to financial loss," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Liability falls on the employer if they do not have workers' compensation insurance and a worker is injured on the job."
After receiving a letter from a collection agency for nonpayment of premium, the victim contacted Chang who assured him there had been an error, that he was still insured and issued him a bogus insurance certificate.
The victim remained suspicious, contacted the insurance company and discovered he had been uninsured for several months. The victim contacted Chang and asked her to return the money, but she ignored his request and shortly after, closed her business and disappeared.
Unaware of the resources available to help him, the victim did not file a complaint with the California Department of Insurance until two years after the premium theft was discovered. By the time the victim requested help, the department had already revoked Chang's license and she was convicted of grand theft for stealing premiums from five businesses and one individual. The department launched a new investigation and a warrant for Chang's arrest was issued, which she evaded for over three years until investigators located and arrested her in La Quinta in June 2015.
Consumers and businesses should always contact the insurance company directly to verify their coverage and should report suspected fraud immediately to the department. Consumers can file a request for assistance online at insurance.ca.gov or by calling 800-927-HELP.
This case was prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
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- Mia Chang's booking photo. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ca_dept_insurance/23931033105/in/album-72157660383499354/
- Chang pleaded no contest and was sentenced to three years formal probation and 200 hours of community service.
- Lotte Insurance Services was located at Wilshire Center at 3470 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90010.
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.