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CA Department of Insurance

Inland Empire agent busted in bogus annuity scheme

News: 2016 Press Release

For Release: May 2, 2016
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Inland Empire agent busted in bogus annuity scheme

MORENO VALLEY, Calif. — Joshua Eugene Barnes, 33, of Moreno Valley, was arrested by California Department of Insurance detectives at an Inland Empire Starbucks and booked on two felony counts of grand theft and one felony count of money laundering after allegedly submitting fraudulent annuity applications and personal checks to multiple life insurance carriers.

"I have a zero-tolerance policy for agents who violate the law for personal gain," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "We will take appropriate action against Barnes' license and any licensee that violates the law."

Evidence revealed Barnes submitted 17 fraudulent annuity applications to five life insurance companies with blank checks he obtained from about a dozen individuals, including some acquaintances, in order to get advance commissions.

Barnes allegedly submitted two fraudulent annuity applications, one for $850,000 and the other for $500,000, using two of the blank checks he obtained. One insurance company paid commissions totaling $81,900 only to discover the checks Barnes submitted bounced.  After repeated attempts to get Barnes to repay the commission, the insurer contacted the Department of Insurance, which launched an investigation.

Barnes was booked into the Riverside County Jail with bail set at $82,000. Barnes' next court appearance is scheduled for June 28 in Riverside County Superior Court. This case is being prosecuted by the Riverside District Attorney's Office under the department's Life and Annuity Consumer Protection Program.

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Media Notes:

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 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.

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