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Northern California drivers charged after investigation uncovers text messages detailing alleged insurance fraud scheme

News: 2021 Press Release

For Release: July 7, 2021
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Northern California drivers charged after investigation uncovers text messages detailing alleged insurance fraud scheme

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Maricela Pantjoa Vidrio, 31, of Fairfield, and Areshma Kiran, 35, of Sacramento, were charged on multiple felony counts of insurance fraud, after allegedly conspiring to misrepresent the facts following an automobile collision in order to receive undeserved insurance payouts.

An investigation by the California Department of Insurance revealed on August 19, 2018, Vidrio was driving her 2016 Honda Accord and struck the rear of a 2007 Nissan Pathfinder, driven by Kiran. Vidrio, who was uninsured at the time of the collision, obtained an auto policy with her insurance company on August 21, 2018.

The investigation discovered text messages between Vidrio and Kiran following the accident in which Vidrio told Kiran her plan to obtain insurance so both vehicles will be repaired. They agreed to falsely report to their insurance companies that the collision occurred on August 23, 2018, four days after the actual accident.

During the claims process, Vidrio’s insurance company determined Kiran was at fault in the collision and that Vidrio’s vehicle was a total loss. The insurance company paid Vidrio’s lien holder approximately $19,439 and used a collection agency in an attempt to collect the amount that was paid in the claim from Kiran.

In an effort to dispute the reimbursement amount from Vidrio’s insurance company, Kiran admitted the actual date of the collision was August 19, 2018. Kiran provided the insurance company with text messages between her and Vidrio to corroborate the date and prove they agreed to lie to the insurance company. Kiran also admitted to Department detectives that she knowingly agreed to Vidrio’s plan to lie about the date of the collision in order to have her car repaired. In the text messages that Kiran provided, Vidrio also admitted that the collision was her fault.

Vidrio self-surrendered to the Sacramento County Jail on June 30, 2021, and Kiran self-surrendered on June 16, 2021. This case is being prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.  

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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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