CDI Makes Progress on Fraud Activity

January 22, 2003

Investigators with the California Department of Insurance (CDI) Criminal Investigations Branch announced these recent developments in insurance fraud cases:

·Preliminary hearing decision of the San Diego Superior Court case of Carmen John Palmieri, who allegedly defrauded 120 senior citizen investors of over $10,000,000. Palmieri sold over 280 fraudulent viatical settlement contracts to unsuspecting seniors. Palmieri was bound over on 114 felony counts of grand theft and the fraudulent sale of securities.

·Lewis Anthony Wytch, 36, was arraigned in Sacramento County Superior Court on one felony count of insurance fraud for allegedly submitting fraudulent medical billings to CSAA Insurance and fraudulent wage loss documentation totaling $2,214. Wytch is currently serving time in Soledad State Prison on an unrelated charge. Bail was set at $1,000,000 because he currently has two strikes against him. Prosecutor: Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.

·Mui Chin, originally arrested in June 2002 for falsely claiming his $49,000 Mercedes Benz was stolen, pled guilty Jan. 9, 2003 to one count of receiving stolen property. Chin claimed his vehicle was stolen in 1991, but it was later found stored in his garage. Chin was sentenced to 150 days in jail, three years probation, and ordered to pay restitution totaling $49,512 to Allstate Insurance Company. Prosecutor: San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office—Auto Insurance Fraud Unit.

·Rabbia S. Zorn, 38, and Marina A. Zorn, 39, were arrested and booked into Sacramento County Jail on insurance fraud charges. In June 2001, Rabbia filed a $7,000 claim with 21st Century Insurance Company for stereo equipment allegedly stolen from his vehicle. During the claim process, it was discovered that Rabbia made a previous claim for $7,000 for stolen stereo equipment. The investigation revealed the receipts were alleged duplicates. Prosecutor: Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.

·An Order of Immediate Suspension was issued by CDI against the license of bail agent, Buck Patrick Lewis, 20, of Placerville. The suspension was effective Jan. 8, 2003. The suspension order follows an El Dorado County criminal complaint issued against Lewis for four felony counts including first-degree burglary, second-degree robbery, false imprisonment by violence and kidnapping for ransom.

·Tammy Sue Shouse, 39, of Fresno, was arrested and booked into the Fresno County Jail on one felony count of arson and one felony count of insurance fraud. Bail was set at $55,000. Shouse allegedly drove her vehicle to an orchard, set it on fire and then called the Fresno Police Department and reported the vehicle stolen. She filed a claim with her insurance company for theft of the vehicle and received a settlement in the amount of $3,425. Prosecutor: Fresno County District Attorney’s Office.

·Ramon Briceno, 44, was arrested and booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on one felony count of insurance fraud. Briceno reported to CSAA Insurance that his 1995 Chevy Tahoe was vandalized while parked in his carport in Morgan Hill. Investigation revealed the damage Briceno reported totaling $2,155 was sustained before Briceno purchased the vehicle. Prosecutor: Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

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