John Antonio Ruiz, 49, of Riverside, Calif., pleaded guilty to 11 felony counts of grand theft after selling $334,972 in bogus surety bonds and stealing the client’s premium.
His theft left a major retailer exposed to loss on a construction project. Ruiz, doing business as Cornerstone Surety and Insurance Agency, reportedly sold and issued multiple performance and payment bonds to a general contractor. The contractor unknowingly included the bonds with a winning bid for new store construction projects throughout the nation.
After the retailer attempted to satisfy liens filed by subcontractors, they discovered the surety bonds sold by Ruiz were bogus and they had no protection to satisfy the liens.
The California Department of Insurance Investigation Division launched an investigation that revealed Ruiz did not have a valid agent license, had not remitted any of the collected premiums to the insurance company, and pocketed the money for personal expenses.
“Ruiz’s theft of more than a quarter of a million in premiums left the contractor and the retail client at great financial risk,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement.
Ruiz is schedule for sentencing on July 15 in Riverside Superior Court. The California Attorney General is prosecuting this case.
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