Elvira Marcela Santamaria of Baldwin Park, Calif., turned herself in to the Tulare Superior Court, Visalia Division, after learning a five-count auto insurance fraud and grand theft warrant had been issued for her arrest.
In January 2000, the 22-year-old woman was hired as a contract employee by the Farmers Insurance Claims Office in Visalia. She was responsible for issuing auto insurance claim checks to insureds and claimants. After two months of employment, a fellow employee discovered that a claim check had been issued to Santamaria despite her not being a party to the loss.
When confronted, she initially denied responsibility for the claim check being issued under her name, but later admitted to Farmers Insurance auditors and District Attorney investigators that she issued a total of five claim checks to herself between March 2000 and April 2000. The checks were issued without authorization and totaled more than $2,400.
Prior to the criminal complaint being filed, Santamaria paid back the funds she had taken from Farmers. The arrest was a result of a joint investigation by the California Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Branch, Tulare County District Attorney’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit and Farmers Insurance Auditing Unit.
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