The recent arrest of Dean Joseph Basler by the Ventura County Sheriff following a California Department of Insurance investigation, serves as an important consumer warning to confirm the validity of insurance coverage.
Basler is accused of embezzling more than $250,000 in premiums for homeowner’s insurance that placed responsible families at unnecessary financial risk in an area prone to wildfires.
The investigation revealed Basler, a licensed insurance agent since September 1993, was allegedly collecting premiums for homeowner insurance coverage but failed to place the policies with an insurance company. Basler issued fraudulent certificates of insurance to his clients to hide his scheme. The lack of insurance coverage left Basler’s clients vulnerable for personal financial loss, especially since many clients lived in high fire danger areas.
According to investigators, Basler would send renewal quotes to his clients and they would issue a check to Basler’s agency to renew their policies. One client paid Basler for five years until the department’s investigation revealed the homeowner had been without insurance since 2009. A review of Basler’s business bank records further revealed several other clients who had been paying Basler their premiums yet lacked valid policies.
When these same clients requested proof of insurance, Basler provided them with a falsified certificate of insurance with the name of the insurance company, the coverage period and the amount of coverage. Upon verification, the insurance companies confirmed that the policy numbers on the certificate were not legitimate policies.
Bail for Basler is set at $250,000.
Source: California Department of Insurance
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