Former Farmers Agent Charged with 39 Felony Counts

April 4, 2003

Officers from the California Department of Insurance (CDI) arrested Patrick James Murphy, 45, of Norco, April 2 and charged him with 39 felony counts including grand theft, elder abuse, forged official seal, and submission of forged instrument to a state agency.

CDI’s Investigations Division alleges Murphy defrauded 31 insurance clients by collecting premiums and issuing false insurance certificates for commercial, auto, home and workers’ comp, when no insurance existed at all. Murphy collected in excess of $300,000 in premiums from his victims, including some senior citizens.

Evidence suggests Murphy represented himself as a Farmers Insurance agent despite the fact that Farmers terminated his agent appointment in Oct. 1997. It is believed Murphy also sold Farmers Insurance products using his father’s appointment without proper authority. Upon discovery of the improprieties, Farmers Insurance immediately revoked the senior Murphy’s authority.

“Unfortunately, we don’t often find out about these scams until a consumer attempts to file a claim only to find there is no insurance behind the piece of paper they received from the scam artist,” said John Garamendi, insurance commissioner. “Consumers can take steps to protect themselves by first verifying the agent or broker is currently licensed with the Department of Insurance, and then once they receive their policy, call the company listed on the policy to confirm the policy number is registered with the company and is in force.”

Murphy was booked into the Riverside County Jail. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison. Bail was set at $568,600. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.

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