SoCal Adjuster Jailed for Embezzlement
A former licensed public adjuster from Huntington Beach, Calif., was sentenced to 180 days in county jail and five years of felony probation after pleading guilty to three felony counts of embezzlement and one felony count of forgery, the state Department of Insurance said in a press release.
John Schoon, 54, reportedly stole over $132,000 in claims proceeds for clients by forging signatures and guarantee stamps, the department said in a press release.
Schoon has already paid $12,000 in restitution and was ordered to pay an additional $52,311 as a condition of his probation. Additionally, Schoon is not to have any contact with his victims and is forbidden from engaging in insurance-related activities.
According to California Department of Insurance investigators, Schoon, acting as World Wide Public Adjusters, negotiated checks by forging the signature of at least one of his clients and also forged endorsement guarantee stamps on behalf of that client’s mortgage company.
On Jan. 17, 2015, CDI revoked Schoon’s licensing rights and privileges; however, Schoon continued to act as a public adjuster under the license of his wife, Andrea Schoon, which she obtained one month later.
Interviews with several insureds that were represented by World Wide Public Adjusters Inc. revealed they entered into contracts with Schoon and not his wife, although the contracts listed her public adjuster license number.
On Sept. 12, 2016, Andrea Schoon’s public adjuster licensing rights were revoked.
Schoon reportedly continued to act as a public adjuster and on at least one occasion, using the public adjuster license number that belonged to a former colleague.
He failed to provide clients with the claim proceeds they were owed on multiple occasions, and lied to clients about the status of their payments and wrote fraudulent checks with no intention of providing them with their funds, while using those claims proceeds for personal expenses or to pay other clients.
This case was prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Business Owner Accused of Faking Racist Vandalism
A suburban Atlanta police department has charged a local business owner — reportedly a former National Football League player — for alleging faking a racist attack on his restaurant in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
The Gwinnett County Police Department said officers responded to a burglary in progress call at the Create and Bake Restaurant and Coughman’s Creamary on Sept. 11. The called that someone who drove a black Chevrolet Silverado was inside the building causing damage.
Police spotted Edawn Louis Coughman, the owner of the building, leaving the shopping center. Several telephones were lying in the bed of his truck, attached to brackets with damaged drywall.
Officers found yellow pry marks on the back door of the restaurant. Inside, several “raciallly-motivated” graffiti words were spray-painted on the walls, along with swastiskas and “MAGA.” Someone had sliced open cushions on the booths, broke mirrors, cut wires and damaged the video surveillance system.
Police say the paint was still wet. But Coughman told officers that he had discovered the damage earlier in the day and had filed a report with his insurance carrier, but did not report the incident to police.
A search of Coughman’s truck turned up a crow bar with yellow paint and cans of black spray paint. “It appears as though Edawn conjured a premeditated plan to damage his own property, attempt to make it appear as a hate crime, file a claim with his insurance company, and sell off the undamaged appliances and electronics,” the police department said in a press release.
The Gwinnett Daily News reported that Coughman had played for several NFL teams as an offensive tackle from 2012 to 2016. He owns two Create & Bake pizza restaurants in Gwinnett County, the newspaper said.
Coughman was arrested and taken to Gwinnett County Jail, where he was charged with false report of a crime, insurance fraud and concealing a license plate, the Daily News said. He has since bonded out.
Two Fraud Arrests in Washington State
A Yakima County resident was convicted of auto insurance fraud last week, while a Kings County renter was charged with attempting to defraud her insurance carrier, the Washington State Department of Insurance said.
Roberto Roman-Salgado pleaded guilty in Yakima County Superior Court to filing a false auto insurance claim. He will serve 25 days of electronic home monitoring and will pay $500 in court fees.
Investigators for the Insurance Department’s Criminal Investigations Unit say Roman-Salgado totaled his uninsured car on Sept. 28, 2018, in Yakima Valley when he fell asleep while driving. He bought auto insurance from Progressive on Oct. 2 and filed a $10,131 claim the next day.
Progressive found tow records showing the collision happened before the policy was purchased and denied the claim and referred the case to the CIU.
In a separate case, Sheri Lynn Danner was charged in King County Superior Court with one felony count of filing a fraudulent insurance claim.
According to the investigation, Danner filed a renter insurance claim with Assurant in January 2017 for the reported theft of 15 items valued at $5,682 from her parked car. She substantiated the claim with receipts from Amazon.com that the company told investigators were falsified. Assurant denied the claim and referred the case to the CIU.
Temp Agency Owner Charged with Fraud
The owner of a Massachusetts temporary employment agency is charged in an alleged scheme to evade more than $100,000 in workers’ compensation premiums, the state Attorney General Maura Healy’s office said.
The office said the Worcester County Grand Jury indicted Sovane Kien, 56, for six counts of workers’ compensation fraud, five counts of larceny over $250 and one count of larceny over $1,200.
Prosecutors say Kien operates People’s Temp Service Inc. in Worcester. From August 2012 through August 2018, he substantially underreported the number of employees and the amount he paid this workers. Auditors allege that as a result, he avoided paying $11,856 in premiums.
Kien will be arraigned in Worcester Superior Court on Oct. 22.
Texas Driver to Pay Restitution for Double Dipping
The Travis County district court has convicted Ramon S. Flores of Kingwood on workers’ compensation fraud-related charges, Texas Mutual Insurance said.
Flores reported a job-related injury while working as a driver for Direct International Wine and Spirits in Houston and claimed he was unable to work because of the injury, the carrier said in a press release. Texas Mutual began paying income benefits, but discovered Flores was working as a clerical worker for another company.
The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation, prosecutor in Travis County handled the case. The court sentenced Flores to a Class A misdemeanor with four years deferred adjudication. He will pay $7,200.61 in restitution to Texas Mutual.
Nebraska Dry Cleaner Owner Charged with Arson, Fraud
The owner of a Nebraska dry cleaning business that burned following an explosion last year has been charged with arson and insurance fraud, the Associated Press reported.
The Sarpy County Attorney’s Office says in news release that 53-year-old Michael McKernan, owner of the Wardrobe Spa just southwest of Omaha, was charged with three insurance fraud counts in addition to the arson charge. If convicted, McKernan faces up to 14 years in prison.
The blast and fire last October leveled the building. Fire investigators say someone had tampered with the building’s natural gas system.
McKernan was outside trimming some bushes when the explosion occurred, but he wasn’t hurt. His truck was parked between him and the business.
It was unclear Tuesday whether McKernan had hired a lawyer. A publicly-listed phone number for McKernan could not be found.
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