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CA Department of Insurance

Friends’ fast and furious fraud scheme ends in felony charges

News: 2016 Press Release

For Release: November 15, 2016
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Friends’ fast and furious fraud scheme ends in felony charges
$250K fraud scheme behind reported theft of classic ’55 Porsche
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Constantine Petros, 54, of Petaluma was arrested on October 19, 2016, in Sonoma County and Christopher Hatton, 60, of Tahoma, surrendered himself to Placer County Superior Court on November 14, 2016. Both were charged with multiple felony counts of insurance fraud and conspiracy for filing a false insurance claim for the alleged theft of a classic 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster.

After receiving a suspicious claim referral from Farmers Insurance, the Department of Insurance Fraud Division launched an investigation into circumstances surrounding Hatton's claim that his $250,000 collectable 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster was stolen in Nevada while he attended the area's annual rib cook-off.

"Petros and Hatton allegedly went to great lengths to weave an elaborate scheme in an attempt to defraud Farmers Insurance out of $250,000," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Solid investigative work by department detectives stopped them in their criminal tracks."

The investigation revealed a connection between Petros and Hatton and an alleged conspiracy to file a false insurance claim for a stolen collectable Porsche that Hatton never owned and was not stolen.

The alleged scheme began with Petros and Hatton creating a fraudulent paper trail showing Hatton purchased a 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster. Petros then provided a different Porsche so Hatton could secure an appraisal documenting the value of the collectable car. The investigation revealed the vehicle identification number or VIN was altered on the Porsche to make it appear as a different 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster. Using the Porsche with the altered VIN, Hatton was able to secure a vehicle appraisal value of $250,000. Hatton then used the appraisal to obtain an insurance policy for the collectable Porsche. On September 4, 2016, Hatton reported the Porsche 356 Speedster stolen to police and Farmers Insurance.

If convicted on all counts, Petros and Hatton could face more than five years in prison. The case is being prosecuted by the California Attorney General's Office. If anyone has information on this crime or other crimes related to Petros, or has information regarding the missing Porsche (see picture below) please contact CDI fraud detectives at (916) 854-5842.

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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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