RIVERSIDE — 34-year-old Moreno Valley resident Connie Free had a plan where she would solicit potential victims under the ruse of offering them “attractive rates on commercial vehicle insurance.” She used phone call, emails and post cards to reach out to her victims.
Then, Ms. Free would give a quote for coverage. If anyone took her bait, she had them make a cash payment into her bank account. She did this under the ruse to pay the imaginary carrier immediately.
Free also sometimes issued a fraudulent certificate of insurance and fraudulent insurance identification cards. As far as the victims knew, they were now covered. She named her fake company “Justyce Insurance” and “Pure Justyce Insurance Agency.”
In short, Free took the money that she collected and used it on herself.
The investigation spanned September 2017 through July 2018, during which time, seven victims paid real money for fake insurance.
Free was arrested in January and charged with grand theft and forgery. She allegedly stole at least $174,000 from the seven victims, who were “port truck drivers who lost their operator authority as a result of not having (actual) insurance.”
“This agent allegedly robbed truck drivers who already have some of America’s hardest jobs,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “This unlicensed agent not only allegedly stole from her clients, she put them at risk of losing their livelihood.”
Free’s bail was set at $198.352.
The CDI press release further explained, “In some cases, these victims were turned away when attempting to haul loads from or return chassis to port terminals or service client sites. Other victims had to decline jobs after learning Free failed to place coverage. These victims were forced to find and pay for other policies to meet the coverage requirements that would allow them to resume their businesses, causing them to incur losses over and above the premium amounts provided to Free for non-existent policies. Free failed to provide refunds, and in most circumstances refused to even respond to inquiries made by her victims.”