California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced the arrests of Robert and Lisa Franklin of Artesia, on five counts of felony grand theft, five counts of diversion of premiums. In addition, Mrs. Franklin was charged with one felony count of insurance fraud. Mrs. Franklin faces a maximum sentence of nine years in state prison if convicted. Mr. Franklin faces a maximum of seven years in state prison if convicted. Bail is set at $230,000 for each suspect.
Through the course of its investigation, CDI investigators discovered that between March 2004 and January 2006, Franklin allegedly collected and/or overcharged five victims of at least $10,129, which was supposed to pay automobile insurance policy premiums. The CDI investigation determined that Mr. Franklin, whose insurance license was revoked in 2004 following his conviction of grand theft of insurance premium, allegedly quoted excessive monthly payments to the victims for their policies. Mrs. Franklin then allegedly placed coverage for the victims, and arranged to collect their monthly payments using a payment collection company, which deposited the payment into the Franklins’ bank account. Three of the victims’ policies were canceled due to non-payment of premium, although their bank accounts were being debited by the Franklins’.
One of the victims was provided with a bogus automobile insurance identification card to make it appear coverage was placed and two victims suffered uninsured losses in excess of $3,000. It is also alleged that Mrs. Franklin, pretending to be one of the accident victims, purchased an auto policy via the internet in an attempt to cover the loss. She allegedly called the insurance company, again pretending to be the policyholder, and gave a false accident date in her conversation with the insurance company representative that was recorded. The insurance company discovered that the accident had actually occurred a day prior to the placement of coverage and conducted their own investigation where Mrs. Franklin admitted to calling on behalf of the insured.
The Department of Insurance launched the investigation after one victim attempted to renew her vehicle registration and was told that her proof of insurance would not be accepted. The victim immediately filed a complaint with the Department of Insurance.
This case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
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