Bakersfield, Calif.-based insurance agent Albert Ricardo Prince has been arrested and charged with eight felonies that include one count of grand theft, two counts of embezzlement, three counts of concealing insurance information and one count each of perjury and offering false documents for filing, the California Department of Insurance reported. He was arraigned Feb. 9 and his preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 25, 2010 in Kern County Superior Court.
A three-year California Department of Insurance (CDI) investigation alleges that between March 2006 and Sept. 30, 2009 Prince accepted more than $400,000 from clients to pay premiums for homeowners’ insurance, commercial liability insurance and performance (construction) bonds and misappropriated the premiums for his own personal use. Prince, who owned Prince Insurance Agency, failed to place coverage with insurers and knowingly prepared fraudulent certificates of insurance, leading his clients to believe they were covered. The CDI investigation also alleges that Prince knowingly obtained fraudulent performance bonds from a bogus off-shore surety company, exposing his clients and numerous governmental agencies to uninsured losses.
A search warrant issued by the Kern County Superior Court was served on Prince’s business office and home on July 15, 2009. Evidence obtained from the search warrant revealed additional victims of Prince’s allegedly fraudulent insurance transactions.
On Sept. 3, 2009, CDI suspended Prince’s license and prohibited him from conducting any type of business related to insurance, including the collection of premiums. On Oct. 13, 2009, Prince voluntarily surrendered his insurance license to CDI Investigators.
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