Case Update: Former agent who pocketed insurance premiums pleads guilty to fraud
News: 2018 Press Release
In exchange for a plea of no contest, Thomas H. Morris was convicted of insurance fraud and agreed to the following terms as part of his plea agreement: Pay $133,000 in restitution for the premium theft and an additional $10,000 to the insurance company involved; agreed to complete a two-year diversion program that included community service; and pay a total of $580 in court fees and fines. Upon completion of the court ordered requirements the charges would be dismissed. Morris completed the court-ordered terms and the charges were dismissed.
Original news release below:
October 7, 2014 (#099)
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.
Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.