Mia Chang, 51, former insurance broker and owner of Lotte Insurance Services in Southern California, was sentenced for felony insurance fraud and grand theft.
Moments after her arrest Chang returned $19,218 in stolen premiums with interest to the owner of a sizable construction company.
Chang reportedly collected full payment for an annual workers’ compensation insurance policy and pocketed a majority of the victim’s premium, forwarding only a small amount to the insurer and leaving the business owner without coverage and at considerable financial risk, investigators say.
After receiving a letter from a collection agency for nonpayment of premium, the victim reportedly contacted Chang who assured him there had been an error, that he was still insured and issued him a bogus insurance certificate.
The victim remained suspicious, contacted the insurance company and discovered he had been uninsured for several months. The victim contacted Chang and asked her to return the money, but she ignored his request and shortly after, closed her business and disappeared, according to investigators.
Unaware of the resources available to help him, the victim did not file a complaint with the California Department of Insurance until two years after the premium theft was discovered. By the time the victim requested help, the department had already revoked Chang’s license and she was convicted of grand theft for stealing premiums from five businesses and one individual, according to CDI.
The department launched a new investigation and a warrant for Chang’s arrest was issued, which she evaded for over three years until investigators located and arrested her in La Quinta in June 2015.
This case was prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Chang pleaded no contest and was sentenced to three years formal probation and 200 hours of community service.
“Chang violated her clients’ trust when she stole their premiums and left them vulnerable to financial loss,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement. “Liability falls on the employer if they do not have workers’ compensation insurance and a worker is injured on the job.”
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