California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that James Alfred Morris, 66, of Covina, has been arrested and charged with eight felony counts of identity theft and six felony counts of grand theft after allegedly stealing a man’s identity in order to sell life insurance policies and collect commissions.
“These types of crimes continue to happen but we are always catching them and punishing them,” Commissioner Poizner said. “Stealing another’s identity and then stealing money from an insurance company will never succeed. We will hunt you down, make sure you are prosecuted and then sent to jail.”
Morris, who lost his insurance license in 2003 for similar fraud violations, was arrested Dec. 16 at his Covina home. A California Department of Insurance (CDI) investigation alleges that from April 2007 through Nov. 2007 Morris used a former employee’s identity to submit 15 applications for life insurance policies. His alleged crime allowed him to collect $8,457 in commission payments from the insurance company. Because Morris did not have a valid insurance license, he would not have been able to collect those commission payments without allegedly stealing the victim’s identity.
The commission payments were payable to his former employee, but were made via a direct deposit into a bank account that Morris controlled and operated. The former employee was unaware of this activity. The alleged scheme was brought to CDI’s attention when the insurance company filed a complaint against Morris’ former employee alleging he owed them money for commissions that were given to him based on fraudulent life insurance applications.
The case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Elder Abuse Unit.
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