Former North Hills insurance agents charged for allegedly stealing clients’ insurance premiums
News: 2020 Press Release
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Former North Hills insurance agents Tani Arau, 33, and Gagik Babayan, 36, surrendered themselves today to the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Van Nuys after each was charged with two felony counts of grand theft and one misdemeanor count of petty theft for allegedly stealing nearly $5,500 in clients’ insurance premiums.
The Department of Insurance launched an investigation after multiple complaints were filed against Gizmo Insurance Agency which both Arau and Babayan operated under. The investigation revealed that between December 2018 and March 2019, Arau and Babayan allegedly collected a total of $5,466.52 in insurance premiums from three clients and, rather than remitting the payments to insurance companies, used the money for their own personal benefit. As a result of the thefts, the clients, two of which were small business owners, were left without insurance coverage and exposed to potential uninsured losses.
The case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Bail was set at $40,000 each and they will be arraigned on September 30, 2020.
The Department revoked Arau’s license on July 23, 2020. Babayan’s license was previously revoked on November 13, 2013.
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Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.