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Three San Jose residents arrested in separate automobile fraud cases

News: 2019 Press Release

For Release: September 5, 2019
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Three San Jose residents arrested in separate automobile fraud cases
Suspects allegedly submitted false documentation to receive unearned insurance payouts


On December 4, 2019, Ernesto Velasco Sr. and Ernesto Velasco Jr. were convicted on multiple misdemeanor counts of insurance fraud. They were both sentenced to one year of court probation and 200 hours of community service each. They were also ordered to pay a combined restitution of $4,888.


Cristina Pastrana pleaded no contest to one count of insurance fraud and was sentenced to two years of probation. Prior to sentencing, Pastrana paid $3,157 in restitution and completed 200 hours of community service. The case was prosecuted by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.


SAN JOSE, Calif. —Two recent California Department of Insurance investigations have led to the arrests of three San Jose residents who reported automobile accidents to their insurer and allegedly misrepresented the facts to collect unearned insurance payouts.

In the first case Ernesto Velasco Sr., 53, and his son, Ernesto Velasco Jr., 27, were charged with multiple felony counts of insurance fraud after the Department of Insurance found that they had allegedly misrepresented information to an insurer about who was driving a vehicle involved in a car accident. Velasco Sr. reported he had been involved in an accident on November 8, 2017, in which he was driving his 2017 Dodge Challenger and hit another vehicle and his son, Velasco Jr. was a passenger in his car. However, according to a report by a San Jose Police Officer who arrived at the scene of the accident, Velasco Jr. was the driver, not the passenger. The department’s investigation revealed that Velasco Sr. and Jr. misrepresented the facts because Velasco Jr. was an excluded driver in the vehicle’s insurance policy, meaning the accident would not be covered and insurance would not cover the damages.

It was discovered later that a second collision was reported October 10, 2017, involving Velasco Sr.’s same 2017 Dodge Challenger. The department found that Velasco Jr. was the driver in this collision and reported Velasco Sr. was the driver to receive an unearned insurance payout even though he was an excluded driver on the insurance policy. The Velascos’ misrepresented claims resulted in a $4,888 loss to the insurer.

In a separate case, Cristina Pastrana, 38, was arrested on multiple felony counts of automobile insurance fraud after allegedly misrepresenting information to an insurer claiming she was a driver involved in an automobile collision. The department’s investigation found that Pastrana was not the driver and was not even there when the accident occurred. The other driver involved in the accident reported that the driver of the insured vehicle was a male and that other driver took a picture of the male driver’s license after the accident. It was determined the male driver was an excluded driver on Pastrana’s insurance policy and was not covered when the accident occurred. Pastrana’s misrepresented claim resulted in a $3,157 loss to the insurer.

Both of these cases are being prosecuted by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

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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