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CA Department of Insurance

$1 million life insurance scam uncovered in Southland investigation

News: 2018 Press Release

For Release: September 25, 2018
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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$1 million life insurance scam uncovered in Southland investigation
LA area couple arrested for allegedly writing fraudulent policies

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Peter Muh Kim, 39, of La Canada Flintridge, and his wife, Jin Kyung Kim, 35, were arrested today on three felony counts each of grand theft and three felony counts each of insurance fraud.

An investigation by the California Department of Insurance revealed that Peter Kim, a licensed insurance agent, allegedly sold two policies to his wife, Jin Kim, and falsely listed her as a niece and beneficiary of the insured. During the same time, Jin Kim purchased another life insurance policy for the same insured and falsely listed herself as the sister and beneficiary of the insured. The Kims allegedly misrepresented that Jin Kim was related to the insured in order to show insurable interest on the policies.

"To those contemplating insurance fraud, let this be an example that this crime is a felony," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Arresting the individuals behind this life insurance fraud scheme is another win for the department and our law enforcement partners. It should serve as a warning to any agent or broker breaking the law—we will aggressively investigate allegations of wrongdoing and work with our district attorney partners to prosecute scam artists and dishonest insurance producers."

The Kims also allegedly failed to disclose the insured's initial diagnosis of a terminal illness to the insurance companies. The insured passed away in July 2014, and the insurance companies paid Jin Kim over $1 million in life insurance proceeds.

Peter Kim is currently booked at the Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles while Jin Kim is booked at the Lynwood County Jail. Bail is set at $460,000 for each of them. Arraignment date is still pending.

This case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and was filed under the Life and Annuity Consumer Protection Program (LACPP),which was established through Assembly Bill 2316 (Chan). The LACPP established a fund to be used exclusively for protecting consumers of life insurance and annuity products in the State of California by both the California Department of Insurance and local district attorneys.

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Media Notes:

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 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.

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