Unlicensed insurance agent sentenced for theft of premiums

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An unlicensed Los Angeles insurance agent has been sentenced to one year of summary probation and ordered to reimburse the California Department of Insurance $10,000 for investigative costs for his crime of theft of premiums. Jose Miguel Marquez, 23, pled guilty Monday, May 1 to one misdemeanor count of theft of funds, after an investigation by the CDI Investigation Division. The case was prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Auto Insurance Fraud Division.

According to investigators, Marquez committed his crimes at Unitrans Insurance Services, where he collected $18,000 during an 18-month period from several truck driver clients for commercial truck insurance. Instead of sending their payments to insurance companies, Marquez kept the money and issued bogus proof-of-insurance documents. To make the policies appear legitimate, he used real insurance company names that specialize in providing insurance to the trucking industry. The companies Marquez used include Liberty Mutual, Sutter Insurance, General Security Insurance, TOPA Insurance, Adriatic Insurance and Ranger Insurance.

According to CDI, Marquez targeted Hispanic truck drivers and misled them to believe they were receiving legitimate commercial trucker policies. Since the monies collected were not used to issue policies, the truckers were in great jeopardy by driving without valid insurance including liability, physical damage and cargo coverage. After being contacted by CDI, Carlos Vasquez Marquez, a licensed agent and brother of Jose Marquez, refunded the premiums to the victims.