Former Calif. Broker Charged with Selling Fake Policies

Calif. Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi has announced that a former Los Angeles insurance broker has been arrested and charged with 63 felony counts related to the sale of thousands of fake insurance policies throughout the nation.

San Antonio, Texas, resident Clarence Joseph Hall III, 49, was arrested Nov. 10 and arraigned in Los Angeles County Superior Court on charges of grand theft, forgery and insurance fraud after voluntarily surrendering to authorities. Bail was set at $100,000. The case is being prosecuted by the Special Crimes Unit of the California Attorney General’s Office.

Investigators say Hall operated a business called Harbour Entertainment & Sports Insurance and maintained offices in Los Angeles, New York and Texas. His insurance license was revoked by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) in 2001, but Hall continued to transact insurance. CDI issued a Cease and Desist Order against Hall in June 2002.

The Department’s investigation continued, and together with the California Department of Justice it was determined that Hall, also known as “Joe Hall,” issued more than 2,700 commercial liability, property, and workers’ compensation policies to entertainment, special event and sports clients. He allegedly collected approximately $3.8 million from December 2001 – June 2002 from the sale of those fake policies nationwide.

Hall originally did have a legitimate special events insurance program with American International Group (AIG), but it expired in 2001. Despite that he allegedly continued to issue thousands of phony policies purporting coverage through Commerce and Industry or Lexington Insurance, both AIG affiliates. Many policies were sold through unsuspecting legitimate insurance brokers. Victims assumed the coverage was valid and did not discover the fraud unless they suffered a loss and tried to file a claim with AIG.

Consumers who believe they are victims in the case are requested to contact the Department of Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1 (800) 927-HELP.