An insurance agent was arrested in California for defrauding 18 business owners by stealing more than $2.5 million in money they had paid him to take out insurance policies for their businesses, the California Department of Insurance reported.
Anthony David Medina was charged with 153 felony counts including 86 counts of forgery, 33 counts of transacting as an insurance company without a certificate of authority, 19 counts of grand theft, five counts of filing false tax returns, four counts of willfully failing to file a tax return, four counts of identity theft, two counts of insurance fraud, and sentencing enhancement allegations for excessive taking more than $50,000 and $150,000. Medina was arrested at a business in Oxnard, Calif., and is being held on $2.9 million bail. To post bond he must prove that the money is from a legitimate source. Medina faces a maximum sentence of 54 years and four months in state prison if convicted on all counts.
Medina’s wife, Vanessa Chaverri, was arrested at a Ladera Ranch, Calif., home, and is charged with five felony counts of filing a false return. She is being held on $436,000 and must prove the money is from a legitimate source before posting bail. Chaverri faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison if convicted.
Medina and Chaverri are expected to be arraigned Thursday, April 24, 2008, at the Central Justice Center, Santa Ana, Calif.
According to the California Department of Insurance, between June 2003 and November 2007, Medina is accused of operating Prompt Insurance Agency in Newport Beach, Calif. The defendant is accused of collecting more than $2.5 million from 18 business owners, including restaurants, plumbing and painting businesses, and other service oriented businesses. Medina is accused of taking money from the businesses under the pretense of securing workers’ compensation and general liability insurance policies for them.
Medina is accused of failing to take out insurance policies for many of the businesses and charging the victims more than the stated premiums. In some instances, he is accused of forging documents to finance insurance policy premiums instead of paying the full amount up front to the insurance company, despite the fact that the victims had paid him the total cost of the policy premium.
Medina is accused of issuing false certificates of insurance to some of his victims. The defendant is accused of creating false policy numbers or giving companies policy numbers that actually belonged to other businesses.
As a result of Medina’s failure to take out insurance policies for some of the businesses, several business owners and employees suffered losses that should have been covered by insurance, CDI said. In some cases, employees who had been injured at work did not receive the workers’ compensation benefits they were due because their employer did not have the workers compensation insurance they had paid Medina to secure. Many of the business owners had to pay for employee workers’ compensation care that should have been covered by insurance.
Between 2003 and 2006, Medina is accused of failing to file any tax returns for Prompt Insurance Agency. Chaverri and Medina are accused of failing to report the income from the stolen monies on their personal tax returns. They are accused of failing to pay more than $230,000 in taxes, and passing that loss of revenue on to California taxpayers. CDI believes the defendant was using the stolen money for personal use on his expensive lifestyle, including cars, homes, and a boat.
The Department of Insurance (DOI) began investigating this case when an insurance company filed a report after finding a discrepancy in a financed policy taken out through Prompt Insurance Agency.
This case was jointly investigated by the California Franchise Tax Board, DOI, and Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Deputy District Attorney Andrea Burke of the Insurance Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.
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