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CA Department of Insurance

Mother and son team sentenced for auto insurance fraud scheme

News: 2017 Press Release

For Release: March 24, 2017
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Mother and son team sentenced for auto insurance fraud scheme
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Henrietta Silva, 71, and her son, Peter Silva, 42, were sentenced yesterday in the San Diego Superior Court after submitting multiple fraudulent auto insurance claims.

Henrietta was sentenced to serve 270 days in jail stayed on the condition that she complete five days public work service, three years formal probation, and to pay $15,434 restitution to two victim insurers. Her son, Peter, was sentenced to serve 365 days in jail and three years formal probation.

"Insurance fraud is a multi-billion dollar crime that has real costs to consumers," said Commissioner Dave Jones. "Insurers pass along their losses to policyholders through higher insurance premiums, which means we all pay."

The California Department of Insurance launched an investigation after receiving a referral from an insurance company after the Silvas submitted several auto insurance claims for identical damages.

Henrietta Silva surrendered in July 2016 and department detectives arrested Peter Silva later that month. Both pleaded guilty to one felony count of insurance fraud on November 9, 2016. This case was prosecuted by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.

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Media Notes:
  • Henrietta Silva pleaded guilty to one non-reducible felony count of PC550 (a)(2): Knowingly present multiple claims for the same loss or injury, including presentation of multiple claims to more than one insurer, with an intent to defraud.
  • Peter Silva pleaded guilty to one non-reducible felony count of PC550(a)(4): Knowingly present a false or fraudulent claim for the payments of a loss for theft, destruction, damage, or conversion of a motor vehicle, a motor vehicle part, or contents of a motor vehicle. 
  • Victim insurance companies include: Allstate, Wawanesa, State Farm, and the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA). 
  • The Urban Grant Task Force is a multi-agency team funded to investigate and prosecute auto fraud and includes the Department of Insurance, District Attorneys, California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies. 

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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