L.A. Broker Arrested for Allegedly Pocketing $381,000 in Premiums

April 14, 2006

A former Los Angeles insurance broker has been arrested for allegedly pocketing $381,966 in liability insurance premiums from clients. The California Department of Insurance arrested Bernard Warschaw, 78, on an extradition warrant. Warschaw was arrested on April 12 by local law enforcement authorities in Sarasota, Fla. He has already appeared in Florida court and waived his extradition.

The case began when CDI received complaints from Professional Underwriters Liability Insurance Company (PULIC) and Western Summit Insurance Brokerage. The companies alleged that Warschaw failed to remit thousands of dollars in insurance premiums he had collected for the placement of professional liability (medical malpractice) insurance policies.

The CDI said its investigation revealed that from July 2003 through December 2003, Warschaw, while operating a company in Marina Del Rey known as Pacific Professional Insurance Inc., allegedly collected $381,966.87 in medical malpractice insurance premiums from over a dozen physicians and dentists within California as well as from other states. Warschaw then requested binding coverage without remitting the collected premiums to PULIC or any insurance company.

Bank records obtained in the investigation show fiduciary funds being transferred from a trust account to an operating account which was used to pay business and non-business related expenses.

Warschaw fled California in 2004 while under investigation by CDI and currently lives in Florida. Investigators learned in late 2005 that Warschaw was attempting to obtain a license to sell insurance in the state of Florida.

The case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. CDI investigators are coordinating with the D.A.’s Extradition Unit to bring Warschaw back to California to face charges. Warschaw is presently being charged with nine counts of grand theft. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Florida Department of Insurance assisted CDI with the investigation.

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