Former insurance agent sentenced for embezzling nearly $200,000 from clients, leaving them uninsured
News: 2021 Press Release
SANTA ANA, Calif. — Anna Gabriela Garcia, also known as Anna Nuno-Garcia, 48, of Capistrano Beach, was sentenced in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana after pleading guilty to two felony counts of embezzlement and grand theft for collecting premium payments from clients and diverting over $195,000 in funds for her personal use. Garcia was sentenced to two years of supervised probation and was ordered to pay the insurance company $190,676 in restitution.
An investigation by the California Department of Insurance found Garcia, a former licensed insurance agent, while working for an independently owned State Farm agency from September 2011 to November 2014, embezzled more than 300 checks totaling $195,626 by altering, endorsing or depositing them into her personal bank accounts. These checks were intended to be payment for her clients’ insurance premiums or were premium refunds for the policyholders.
“We obtain insurance coverage to protect ourselves. The Department of Insurance’s role is to protect consumers and ensure insurance agents abide by all the laws we have in place,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “This formerly licensed agent abused her clients’ trust and put them at risk by leaving them uninsured. This conviction is a reminder to all that our Department is committed to protecting consumers from those looking to take advantage of them.”
Garcia failed to place coverage for personal and commercial automobile insurance causing cancellation of DMV registrations and exposing her clients and others on the road to financial risk. Garcia also failed to place a life insurance policy and at least 17 homeowners and renters policies.
To conceal the embezzlement, Garcia made 57 unauthorized ACH debits from one client’s bank account to pay the premiums of other clients. She also made unauthorized charges to multiple clients' credit cards to pay the premiums of other State Farm policies.
Garcia used cash payments from some clients to purchase money orders to pay premiums for other clients and set up policyholders on unauthorized State Farm installment payment plans. Garcia also misdirected customer billings, statements, and refunds to incorrect addresses, some her own or Post Office boxes she had access to. Victims included extended family members and elderly State Farm customers.
Garcia was sentenced on July 21, 2021. Her license expired in April 2018 for failure to renew and on July 2, 2020, the Department revoked her license and licensing rights. The Orange County District Attorney's Office prosecuted 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 www.insurance.ca.gov 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.