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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
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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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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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