CDI Makes Arrests in Fraud Cases

August 14, 2002

Investigators with the California Department of Insurance (CDI) Criminal Investigations Branch’s Fraud Division announced actions in two cases in the Inland Empire.

• Truck driver Ovidio Ochoa, 43, of Hesperia, was arrested late last week by CDI Investigators. Ochoa alleged he injured his back on Aug. 6, 2001 while hitching a trailer to his truck. He denied being able to continue working as a truck driver due to back pain. He reportedly began collecting workers’ compensation benefits through Ward North America, Inc.

Investigators say during the next several months Ochoa reportedly collected more than $19,000 in disability benefits and received more than $8,000 in medical services paid for by the insurer. Investigation disclosed during this period Ochoa had actually been driving trucks for another trucking company. He had allegedly driven more than 34,000 miles, earning income in excess of $140,000.

The San Bernardino County Superior Court issued a felony warrant on Aug. 6, charging Ochoa with six counts of giving false or misleading information regarding his claim to his insurer. He was arrested at his residence and booked at Victor Valley Jail, Victorville, and bail was set at $25,000.

• A married Alta Loma couple, Ricardo Ramirez, 25, and Nicole Barlow, 23, were arrested by CDI Investigators late last week.

Ramirez alleged that numerous items totaling approximately $8,000 had been stolen from his truck in Oct. 2001.

Ramirez allegedly submitted receipts to his insurer, Allstate Insurance Company, to verify he owned the items. Allstate denied the claim after discovering that more than $2,000 of the receipts was not legitimate. Ramirez allegedly admitted that his wife had created the receipts to show the cost of items that had actually been stolen; however, investigation revealed that the store where the items had allegedly been bought had no record of the purchases.

The San Bernardino County Superior Court issued felony warrants for the couple on Aug. 8, charging both with two counts of submitting false documents in furtherance of an insurance claim. Barlow was arrested at her residence and Ramirez was arrested at a business location in Orange.

Both were booked at West Valley Detention Center, Rancho Cucamonga with bail set at $10,000 each.

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