Moreno Valley woman convicted of pocketing $174,000 in bogus insurance payments
Moreno Valley woman convicted of pocketing 4,000 in bogus insurance payments
A former Moreno Valley insurance agent who pocketed at least $ 174,000 by selling phony policies to truck drivers will be ordered to pay restitution to her victims and spend at least six months behind bars, officials said Friday, Jan. 10.
Connie Free, 34, was convicted of 22 felonies including grand theft and forgery, representatives for the California Insurance Commissioner’s office said in a news release. She was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 180 days on work release and four years of probation.
She was found guilty of targeting port truck drivers and charter bus companies via telephone, email and postcards with bogus offers for insurance policies and competitive rates, state officials said. She went on to produce fraudulent certificates and ID cards to make them believe that they were covered.
Free acted on behalf of a company called “Justyce Insurance” or “Pure Justyce Insurance” and told her clients she could expedite the process of gaining the coverage they needed for work.
She instructed at least seven victims to transfer thousands of dollars into her personal accounts between September 2017 and July 2018, then took that money for herself instead of using it to fund their policies, officials said.
“This agent robbed truck drivers who already have some of America’s hardest jobs,” California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said in the release. “This unlicensed agent not only stole from her clients, she put them at risk of losing their livelihood.”
Some of Free’s victims incurred losses well beyond the supposed price of their premiums after drivers were turned away at their destinations and ports while attempting to haul goods, regulators said. They learned that their authority to do business had been suspended because they were uninsured and filed complaints with the California Department of Insurance.
Free was arrested in January 2019. Her license had been suspended the year prior in connection with an unrelated case. She was ordered during her sentencing to return to court for a hearing on Feb. 21 that will determine the value of restitution she will have to pay to her victims