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Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announces sentencing of former Orange County Agent for Grand Theft

Dave Althausen
December 30, 2011 9:27 AM

On August 24, 2011, former insurance agent Michelle Lynnette Fierro, age 49, was sentenced on five felony counts for violating Penal Code section 487(a), Grand Theft. Fierro, who pled guilty in Orange County Superior Court, was sentenced to 180-days in jail and five years formal probation. Restitution was ordered in the amount of $13,007.00.

According to an investigation, in June of 2007, it was discovered that Fierro, then employed by a Tustin Insurance Agency, had diverted a client's insurance premium by instructing the policyholder to make his $2,070.00 payment check payable to her. The theft was discovered after the policyholder contacted the agency about his policy and provided a copy of his cancelled check. The agency immediately fired Fierro, contacted Tustin Police Department, and paid the diverted premium to continue policy coverage. Fierro failed to renew her insurance license in 2007 and was not believed to have been working in the insurance industry since that time.

An initial investigation by Tustin Police Investigators was followed-up by the Department of Insurance (CDI) Investigations Division, which conducted numerous interviews revealing several patterns of theft from 11 victims. In addition to accepting cash and failing to remit the monies as insurance premiums, Fierro altered at least four checks, making them payable to herself or to her personal auto and homeowner insurer, to generate "refunds" from her own policies to herself for the overpayments. She also generated additional "refunds" to herself by instructing payments by title or escrow companies to be made payable to her personal auto policy.

This case was prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney's office.

 

 

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