Property/casualty agent Rodger Edward Winkler, 64, a was arrested by Shasta County District Attorney investigators in Northern California and charged with numerous felonies, including grand theft, insurance fraud and petty theft.
The charges stem from Winkler allegedly collecting insurance premiums from clients and issuing bogus insurance certificates. The California Department of Insurance is asking anyone who purchased insurance from Winkler to contact their insurance company and verify coverage.
“Winkler’s crimes are particularly offensive because he potentially victimized consumers twice,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement. “When Winkler stole premiums from consumers and issued bogus insurance certificates, he left them vulnerable to additional loss because they actually did not have coverage for their car, home or business.”
The department reportedly received several requests for assistance from consumers who claimed that after paying Winkler for insurance coverage they did not receive the coverage promised. Two of the consumers contacted the insurance companies when they did not receive their policies and were told the policies were canceled for non-payment of premium. Other consumers who paid Winkler and received insurance certificates found out the certificates were allegedly fraudulent after the insurance companies confirmed the policy information on the certificates was bogus, according to investigators.
Investigators found that Winkler collected more than $6,000 from clients for workers’ compensation, general liability, and commercial automobile insurance coverage and allegedly failed to forward the premium exposing his clients to the risk of uncovered loss.
The Department of Insurance is taking enforcement action to suspend Winkler’s agent license and prohibit him from transacting insurance business. The department is also asking anyone that purchased insurance from Winkler and find they do not have legitimate coverage to contact the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357.
Winkler is currently out on $50,000 bail and is scheduled for arraignment in Shasta County Superior Court on Jan. 6, 2014.
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