Fresno insurance agent faces felony charges for pocketing auto premiums
News: 2016 Press Release
FRESNO, Calif. — Anthony John Diaz, 35, is being arraigned today in Fresno County Superior Court to answer charges that he allegedly stole insurance premiums from policyholders. Diaz was arrested earlier this month by Department of Insurance detectives and booked on felony charges of diverting funds, grand theft and embezzlement.
Investigators with the department's Investigation Division uncovered evidence that Diaz, a licensed agent, allegedly pocketed $13,815 in automobile policy premiums and unauthorized brokers fees by diverting premium payments from approximately 90 policies he sold.
"No matter what form insurance fraud takes, it is costly to insurers, consumers, and California's economy," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Careful monitoring by the insurer, coupled with the investigative work by Department of Insurance investigators, uncovered Diaz's alleged crimes."
According to investigators, customers would sign up for an insurance policy on a newly purchased used vehicle, Diaz would pocket the premium payment, which was often cash, and input the information into the company's computers. The premium amount would then be taken out of the insurance company's trust account. This scheme resulted in the policyholder having coverage, but Diaz's alleged embezzlement meant the insurance company actually paid for the policy.
The insurer discovered the theft, fired Diaz, and reported the fraud to the department.
Diaz is currently out on $20,000 bail. The department issued an order suspending Diaz's agent license; he is not currently allowed to transact insurance business.
# # #
- As of 2/17/16, Davis is unable to make the bail of $245,000 and remains in custody at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, CA.
- On February 3, 2016, the Fresno County District Attorney's Office filed a Felony Complaint against, Anthony John Diaz; he was charged with one felony count of IC 1733, Diversion of Fiduciary Funds; one felony count of PC 497(a) Felony Grand Theft by Embezzlement; and one felony count of PC 503 Embezzlement of property valued over $950.
- Diaz is scheduled to be arraigned in Fresno County Superior Court, Department 32 at 8:30 am on February 23, 2016.
- This case was investigated by the California Department of Insurance Enforcement Branch Investigation Division, COPS Unit. Investigators with the Criminal Operation Point of Sale Unit (COPS) are members of the department's law enforcement branch.
- The Department of Insurance Investigation Division investigates insurance crimes committed by insurance producers (agents and brokers).
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.