Fresno Insurance Agent Accused of Pocketing Policy Premiums
FRESNO – A Fresno insurance agent is facing felony charges for allegedly steaming thousands of dollars in auto insurance premiums from policyholders.
Anthony John Diaz, 35, was arraigned on Tuesday in Fresno County Superior Court to answer charges that he allegedly stole $13,815 in automobile policy premiums from policyholders. He was arrested earlier this month by detectives with the Department of Insurance and booked on felony charges of diverting funds, grand theft and embezzlement.
According to the department, Diaz was a licensed agent who diverted premium payments from approximately 90 of the automobile policies he sold.
The department said that customers would sign up for an insurance policy on a newly purchased vehicle and then Diaz would pocket the premium payment, which was often cash, and input the information into the company’s computers. The premium amount would then be taken out of the insurance company’s trust account, the department said.
As a result of the scheme, the policyholder would have insurance coverage, but the insurance company was the one actually paying for the policy. After the insurer discovered the theft, the company fired Diaz and reported the fraud to the Department of Insurance
“No matter what form insurance fraud takes, it is costly to insurers, consumers and California’s economy,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said. “Careful monitoring, coupled with the investigative work by Department of Insurance Investigators, uncovered Diaz’s allege crimes.”
Diaz is currently out on $20,000 bail. The Department of Insurance suspended his agent’s license and he is not allowed to transact any insurance business.