Former agent who pocketed insurance premiums pleads guilty to fraud
News: 2014 Press Release
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Thomas Henry Morris, 72, pleaded guilty to one felony count of insurance fraud after he collected premiums and failed to pay over $133,000 in premiums to an insurer. Morris was sentenced to three years felony probation and 40 hours of community service. As part of his plea agreement, Morris paid $133,000 in restitution and will pay an additional $10,000 to the insurance company involved.
"This sentencing is a victory for consumers and insurers," said Commissioner Dave Jones. "It was because of the combined efforts of the Department of Insurance and the Contra Costa County District Attorney that we were able to bring an end to the scheming and thieving of this individual and find justice for the aggrieved insurance company."
Morris, who owns Morris & Associates Insurance Services Inc., carried out his scheme with a producer license that expired in 1994. He exposed auto dealerships to hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential liability by selling surety bonds, collecting the premium and pocketing the funds that belonged to the insurer.
The investigation began in September 2013 and revealed Morris was directly involved in conducting unlicensed insurance transactions. The criminal complaint was issued June 24, 2014 and Morris surrendered to the court the following day.
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.