Anthony John Diaz, 35, was arraigned today in the Fresno County Superior Court in California to answer charges that he allegedly stole insurance premiums from policyholders.
Diaz was arrested earlier this month by California Department of Insurance detectives and booked on felony charges of diverting funds, grand theft and embezzlement.
Investigators with the department’s investigation division reportedly uncovered evidence that Diaz, a licensed agent, allegedly pocketed $13,815 in automobile policy premiums and unauthorized brokers fees by diverting premium payments from approximately 90 policies he sold.
According to investigators, customers would sign up for an insurance policy on a newly purchased used vehicle, Diaz would pocket the premium payment, which was often cash, and input the information into the company’s computers.
The premium amount would then be taken out of the insurance company’s trust account. This scheme resulted in the policyholder having coverage, but Diaz’s alleged embezzlement meant the insurance company actually paid for the policy, according to the department.
The insurer discovered the theft, fired Diaz, and reported the fraud to the department.
Diaz is currently out on $20,000 bail. The department issued an order suspending Diaz’s agent license; he is not currently allowed to transact insurance business.
“No matter what form insurance fraud takes, it is costly to insurers, consumers, and California’s economy,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement. “Careful monitoring by the insurer, coupled with the investigative work by Department of Insurance investigators, uncovered Diaz’s alleged crimes.”