Former insurance agent Albert Ricardo Prince, 54, of Bakersfield, Calif., has been sentenced to one year in jail for each of three felony counts of fraud he was charged with in Kern County Superior Court, the California Department of Insurance announced. Prince was immediately remanded to the Kern County Sheriff where his sentence has begun, and where his remaining time will be served concurrently in the Kern County Jail. Prince was also sentenced to three years felony probation and ordered to make restitution to 21 of his victims in an amount to be determined by the probation department.
Prince’s conviction and sentencing resulted from an investigation conducted by the California Department of Insurance (CDI), Investigation Division, Valencia Regional Office. According to investigators, between March 1, 2006 and Sept. 30, 2009, as the owner of Prince Insurance Agency, Prince accepted over $400,000 from his clients to pay premiums for homeowners insurance, commercial liability insurance and performance (construction) bonds. Instead of paying the premiums on behalf of his clients, he misappropriated the premiums for his own personal use, CDI said.
Prince failed to place coverage with insurers and knowingly prepared fraudulent Certificates of Insurance, leading his clients to believe that coverage was in place, according to CDI investigators. Unbeknownst to numerous commercial clients, Prince also knowingly obtained fraudulent performance bonds from a bogus off-shore surety company, thereby exposing his clients and numerous governmental agencies to uninsured losses.
As a result of the CDI investigation, the Department issued an Order of Immediate Suspension to Prince in September of 2009, which prohibited Prince from conducting any type of business related to insurance, including the collection of premiums. In October 2010, Prince surrendered his insurance license.
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