Consumer tip results in arrest of dishonest insurance agent
News: 2013 Press Release
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The California Department of Insurance arrested Graciela Elena Paredes, aka, Graciela Elena Gaxiola, 36, of Corona, on October 17, 2013. Paredes was arrested on one felony count of insurance fraud for adding herself to a client's auto insurance policy unbeknownst to the policyholder. This case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney.
"I have zero tolerance for licensed agents who take advantage of customers and tarnish the reputation of the California insurance industry," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Consumers should be able to depend on their agent to follow the law. My department vigorously investigates and prosecutes dishonest agents."
On March 29, 2011, Paredes, dba GER Insurance Services in East Los Angeles, allegedly added herself and her 2011 Honda Civic to a client's auto insurance policy, without their knowledge or permission, as of March 19, 2011. On March 28, 2011 Paredes was involved in a collision with an uninsured motorist and as a result of the collision received over $11,000 in reimbursement for damages from the insurance company.
Paredes' client reviewed their auto insurance policy in April of 2011 and discovered that the agent had added herself to the policy. After admitting to adding herself to the policy, Paredes assured the client that she was no longer on the policy, but failed to inform the client about the uninsured motorist claim that was filed.
In May 2011, an inquiry into a payment for the additional coverage triggered the suspicion of the client who contacted the California Department of Insurance and an investigation was launched. Paredes' next court date is November 15, 2013 and if convicted she faces a maximum of five years in county jail.
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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 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 $394 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.