The California Department of Insurance (CDI) arrested three northern California residents on multiple counts ranging from insurance fraud to embezzlement and grand theft.
Patricia Anne Okuniewicz, 40, of San Jose surrendered on 10 counts of insurance fraud, one count of embezzlement and grand theft, and one felony count of attempted embezzlement.
Karen Marie Brown, 35, of San Jose also surrendered on one felony count of insurance fraud for presenting false or fraudulent claims for payment, one felony count of grand theft, and an additional felony count of attempted grand theft.
Tracy Catherine Brookshire, 39, of Sonora surrendered on one felony count of insurance fraud and one felony count of grand theft.
Arrest warrants were issued following an investigation by CDI’s Criminal Investigations Branch Fraud Division that revealed the suspects alleged illegal activity.
On Aug. 7, 1998, Patricia Anne Okuniewicz was terminated from her position as a claims adjuster with Pacific Specialty Insurance Company (PSIC), in San Mateo for allegedly issuing a fraudulent claim check to a fictitious claimant named Brenda Uribe. As a claims adjuster, Okuniewicz would legitimately settle automobile claims by negotiating both physical damage and bodily injury payments for PSIC insureds. After Okuniewicz settled and closed legitimate claims, she allegedly reopened them, added fictitious claimants and issued claim drafts totaling $7,528.01 to fellow employees, friends, and fictitious persons.
Brown and Brookshire allegedly cashed the claim drafts and gave the money to Okuniewicz.
Brookshire reportedly received several hundred dollars from Okuniewicz for her role in cashing a claim draft. Okuniewicz allegedly issued additional claim drafts totaling $6,462.89 for her personal use, but ultimately voided them out of fear of being discovered.