Gary Stromme, 47, plead guilty to two felony counts of grand theft in Orange County Superior Court yesterday, the result of an investigation by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) Criminal Investigations Branch’s Investigation Bureau. Stromme was arrested at his Anaheim business office on these charges on May 9, 2002 by members of CDI’s Fraud Division. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted this case.
As part of the plea agreement, Stromme was sentenced to serve 365 days in Orange County Jail, placed on five years of formal probation, and ordered to pay full restitution to his victims. Several of Stromme’s victims were Loyal Order of Moose Lodges that paid him insurance premiums without receiving a valid policy. In addition, Stromme is prohibited from obtaining any kind of employment with an insurance agency.
Stromme must surrender to Orange County Superior Court on Jan. 30, 2003 to begin his incarceration. Stromme is eligible to have his jail sentence reduced to 120 days only if he pays the full restitution amount of approximately $140,000 on his date of surrender. If Stromme fails to make full restitution in accordance with the plea agreement, he will serve a full year at Orange County Jail.
In 1999, Stromme collected insurance premium from the Moose Lodges without remitting it to the insurance company and then issued bogus insurance certificates to the individual Moose Lodges. As a member of the Buena Park Lodge at the time of these violations, Stromme was able to gain the trust of the fraternal organization’s lodge administrators.
An Order of Immediate Suspension was issued against Stromme’s insurance license and additional administrative action is pending.
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