Calif. Agent Charged with 36 Felony Counts of Fraud

June 16, 2005

A Modesto insurance agent/broker has been arrested and charged with 36 felony counts of insurance fraud stemming from a five-month joint criminal investigation conducted by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) and the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office.

The investigation focused on alleged fraudulent issuance of insurance certificates and failure to remit premium payments to insurers. Both allegations would put customers at great financial risk should a need arise for coverage.

Luis Urena, 34, of Modesto, operated his insurance business, Urena Insurance Agency, from an office in Salida. He is suspected of collecting premiums from consumers seeking coverage for homes, automobiles, and for commercial automobiles. Investigators believe that the bogus policies he sold brought in more than $75,000 in premium payments.

As part of his scam, Urena also allegedly issued fraudulent insurance certificates and insurance identification cards to his clients, leading them to believe they had legitimate insurance coverage, when in fact they had no insurance to cover claims. Urena’s alleged insurance scam has resulted in numerous unpaid claims.

The investigation revealed more than 100 victims with an estimated loss of more than $100,000, and investigators suspect there may be more victims of Urena’s fraudulent scheme.

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