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Insurance agent pleads no-contest in decade-long scam

September 19, 2017, Bakersfield, CA — A former California insurance agent has pleaded no-contest to charges arising from a decade-long insurance scam.

Valerie Ann Vergudo was charged with one count of grand theft and one count of embezzlement, according to the California Department of Insurance. The department’s Investigations Branch said that while working for a Bakersfield, Calif., insurance agency, Vergudo would allow her personal auto and homeowner policies to lapse when payments were due, then write new policies for herself, making minor changes to avoid detection.

Vergudo also allegedly did the same for friends and family members. In all, she allegedly allowed more than 70 policies to lapse and then rewrote them. Investigators said that the scam provided Vergudo and her friends and family with insurance they didn’t pay for – and cost Farmers Insurance more than $11,000 in unpaid premiums. The scam lasted more than a decade.

“Vergudo allegedly used her position as a licensed insurance agent to take advantage of her insurer, which also happened to be her employer,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said.

Vergudo ultimately pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor insurance fraud. Her license was suspended and is in the process of being revoked, according to the California Department of Insurance. She was ordered to pay more than $11,000 in restitution and $570 in court fines. She was sentenced to four days in county jail, three years’ probation and community service.

Source: Insurance Business

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