Three San Jose residents arrested in separate automobile fraud cases
News: 2019 Press Release
SAN JOSE, Calif. —Two recent California Department of Insurance investigations have led to the arrests of three San Jose residents who reported automobile accidents to their insurer and allegedly misrepresented the facts to collect unearned insurance payouts.
In the first case Ernesto Velasco Sr., 53, and his son, Ernesto Velasco Jr., 27, were charged with multiple felony counts of insurance fraud after the Department of Insurance found that they had allegedly misrepresented information to an insurer about who was driving a vehicle involved in a car accident. Velasco Sr. reported he had been involved in an accident on November 8, 2017, in which he was driving his 2017 Dodge Challenger and hit another vehicle and his son, Velasco Jr. was a passenger in his car. However, according to a report by a San Jose Police Officer who arrived at the scene of the accident, Velasco Jr. was the driver, not the passenger. The department’s investigation revealed that Velasco Sr. and Jr. misrepresented the facts because Velasco Jr. was an excluded driver in the vehicle’s insurance policy, meaning the accident would not be covered and insurance would not cover the damages.
It was discovered later that a second collision was reported October 10, 2017, involving Velasco Sr.’s same 2017 Dodge Challenger. The department found that Velasco Jr. was the driver in this collision and reported Velasco Sr. was the driver to receive an unearned insurance payout even though he was an excluded driver on the insurance policy. The Velascos’ misrepresented claims resulted in a $4,888 loss to the insurer.
In a separate case, Cristina Pastrana, 38, was arrested on multiple felony counts of automobile insurance fraud after allegedly misrepresenting information to an insurer claiming she was a driver involved in an automobile collision. The department’s investigation found that Pastrana was not the driver and was not even there when the accident occurred. The other driver involved in the accident reported that the driver of the insured vehicle was a male and that other driver took a picture of the male driver’s license after the accident. It was determined the male driver was an excluded driver on Pastrana’s insurance policy and was not covered when the accident occurred. Pastrana’s misrepresented claim resulted in a $3,157 loss to the insurer.
Both of these cases are being prosecuted by the Santa Clara County 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 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.