Unlicensed Orange County insurance agent charged with more than 80 felony counts for stealing customers’ premiums
News: 2021 Press Release
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — Juan Carlos Martinez, 56, of Yorba Linda, has been charged with 12 counts of grand theft, 34 felony counts of forgery, 34 counts of insurance fraud, and one count of money laundering, after allegedly collecting premium payments from customers and forging bogus insurance documents he then provided to his victims as proof of insurance.
“Fraud ultimately hurts consumers and our recovering economy. These charges serve as a warning to all that insurance fraud is a crime and punishable in a court of law,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “My department is dedicated to investigating and stopping unlicensed unscrupulous agents to protect California’s consumers and businesses.”
Martinez, a former licensed insurance broker, doing business as Leeds Insurance Services, Inc., allegedly embezzled more than $27,000 from customers and diverted the funds to a personal investment account where he withdrew the funds as cash. By failing to place coverage for commercial general liability insurance policies, Martinez left his victims exposed to significant financial losses and liability.
Martinez was arrested by the Buena Park Police Department at a booth in the Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village. He was booked into Orange County Jail and bail was set at $25,000. This case was investigated by the California Department of Insurance and is being prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Martinez’ insurance license expired in September 2016 for failure to renew.
Consumers can check the status of an insurance agent’s license at www.insurance.ca.gov. If a consumer feels they are being treated unfairly by an insurance company or if they might be a victim of fraud, they can call the Department of Insurance’s help line at 800-927-4357 (HELP).
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- Juan Carlos Martinez is scheduled to be arraigned in March 2022.
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.