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CA Department of Insurance

Southland man sentenced for grand theft after posing as insurance agent

News: 2016 Press Release

For Release: July 20, 2016
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Southland man sentenced for grand theft after posing as insurance agent
Scheme left commercial truck drivers with uninsured losses

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Cristian Raul Videla, 34, of Van Nuys, pleaded no contest to one felony count of Penal Code § 487(a), grand theft for defrauding his customers by misrepresenting to them the amount of insurance coverage they purchased from him. Videla was originally charged in June on five felony counts of grand theft. He surrendered to Department of Insurance detectives and bail was set at $100,000.

Investigators with the Department of Insurance Investigation Division discovered Cristian Videla assumed the identity of a licensed insurance broker, sold cargo insurance to commercial truck drivers, misrepresented the amount of coverage provided, and then pocketed a portion of the consumers' premium for his own use.

"Videla's crimes left his victims without the coverage they needed and at great financial risk," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "The best insurance is to verify your coverage with the company issuing the insurance policy."

Victims were unaware that Videla was providing less coverage than they paid for because he issued fraudulent insurance certificates that indicated the victims had full coverage. The scheme was revealed after one of Videla's victims had a loss and was informed by the insurer that he did not have enough coverage and was responsible for the remaining $50,000 of the $100,000 loss.

On July 18,2016, Videla pleaded no contest and was convicted on one felony count of grand theft. He was sentenced to five years' probation, 120 hours of community service, and ordered to pay full restitution to his five victims. A restitution hearing is set for August 30, 2016. This case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office.

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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