Former California Agent Charged with Fraud, Grand Theft

May 5, 2006

Donald Paul Hardwick, 43, of Fresno, Calif., has been charged with three felony counts of insurance fraud, theft of insurance funds and grand theft by embezzlement, stemming from investigations conducted by the California Department of Insurance Investigation Division and the Visalia Police Department.

Hardwick was charged in a first amendment felony complaint by the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office on April 4. According to investigators, from August 2003 to April 2004, Hardwick operated a branch office of Perrine Insurance Agency in Visalia. Investigators discovered that Hardwick allegedly collected premiums from his clients for homeowners, personal auto and commercial insurance coverage, but failed to obtain the insurance. He issued fraudulent insurance policies to the clients, when in fact there was no insurance in effect.

According to CDI, in February 2004, one of Hardwick’s clients paid him $3,600 for a commercial fire and liability insurance policy to cover an apartment complex she was purchasing. Hardwick allegedly provided her with an insurance policy. Approximately one month later, she discovered major water damage in one of her apartments and called Hardwick to make a claim. After hiring a public insurance adjuster, she was told she had no insurance and that the damage to her apartment unit was more than $4,000.

Kelly Perrine, owner of Perrine Insurance Agency, fired Hardwick and closed the Visalia office after being informed of the alleged fraud. The investigation revealed approximately 40 victims with an estimated loss of more than $20,000. Most of the victims received compensation. Hardwick’s insurance license expired on Feb. 28, 2006.

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