Case Update: Los Angeles insurance agent convicted of identity theft and forgery
News: 2016 Press Release
Restitution has been made and the guilty plea has been set aside.
Probation has been terminated.
Original news release below:
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Said Lakhlifi, 52, of Covina, a licensed insurance agent and owner of Mogador Insurance Center, pleaded no contest and was convicted on three misdemeanor counts of identity theft, forgery and petty theft. Lakhlifi was ordered to pay restitution of $29,767 to his victim.
An investigation by the California Department of Insurance revealed Lakhlifi failed to forward a client's premium for their homeowners' policy in 2014. The client, a detective with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, filed an insurance claim in September 2014 for water damage and mold. Lakhlifi, agreed to file the claim on behalf of his client, and arranged for a contractor to make the necessary repairs. Lakhlifi attempted to undercut the contractor and resulted in the contractor refusing to do the work. The fraud was revealed when Lakhlifi notified his clients that he never placed the policy and that they were not insured.
"Many people make the mistake of thinking insurance fraud is a victimless white collar crime," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "This agent left his clients at great financial risk when he failed to place their policy, leaving the homeowners without the coverage they paid for."
The investigation revealed Lakhlifi, was paying for the claim out of his own pocket in order to conceal the premium theft and lack of insurance coverage. The insurer confirmed that prior to January 2015, no quotes were given, no policy was bound, and no premium collected. In an attempt to hide the lack of insurance, Lakhlifi forged an insurance application in January 2015, so the homeowners would have coverage again.
The department has taken steps to revoke Mogador Insurance Center's business license and issued a suspension order against Lakhlifi's personal agent license.
Consumers can protect themselves from this type of rip-off by making sure they receive an actual policy by mail from the insurance company. If an agent provides the policy or an insurance certificate, consumers should call the insurance company to verify their coverage.
The terms of the plea include three years formal probation if restitution to the victim is paid by the sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for July 5, 2016. If Lakhlifi fails to pay full restitution by the next hearing, he will be sentenced to two years and six months in county jail. This case was prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
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- Said Lakhlifi self-surrendered to the court October 16, 2015.
- Lakhlifi entered the plea agreement February 26, 2016.
- Consumers should verify an agent's license and ensure there are no enforcement actions against them. This information is
available on the department's website at www.insurance.ca.gov
(under the For Consumers tab).
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.