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Task force arrests Escondido man for insurance fraud and reporting a false vehicle theft

News: 2020 Press Release

For Release: November 6, 2020
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Email Inquiries: cdipress@insurance.ca.gov
Task force arrests Escondido man for insurance fraud and reporting a false vehicle theft

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Juan Camilo Vargas, 62, of Escondido, was arrested on multiple felony counts of insurance fraud and reporting a false vehicle theft after allegedly misrepresenting when and where his vehicle was stolen from in order to receive an undeserved insurance payout.

On September 8, 2019, Vargas reported to the Escondido Police Department and his insurance company that his 1997 Toyota RAV4 was stolen while parked in front of his Escondido home. Vargas stated he parked the vehicle the night before and discovered it was missing the next morning. His insurance company issued him a $4,165 check for his claim.

An investigation by the San Diego County Regional Auto Theft Task Force, which includes the California Department of Insurance, San Diego District Attorney's Office and California Highway Patrol, revealed Vargas' vehicle was driven across the border from the U.S. to Mexico on August 25, 2019. U.S. Border Patrol provided a photo of the vehicle crossing the border and the driver appeared to be Vargas. U.S. Customs and Border Protection records confirmed Vargas drove another vehicle that was registered to him back to the U.S. from Mexico later that same day.

In an interview with a Department of Insurance detective, Vargas confirmed the vehicle was actually stolen in Mexico, not in Escondido as he had previously reported to the police and his insurance company. Vargas said he fraudulently reported the theft occurred in Escondido because he did not believe he had insurance coverage in Mexico. The investigation confirmed his insurance policy did not cover the vehicle while in Mexico.

Vargas was arrested by the task force on November 3, 2020, and transported to the Vista Detention Facility. Bail was set at $25,000 and Vargas was released on bond. The San Diego District Attorney's Office is prosecuting this case.

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $340 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. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.

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