California insurance broker allegedly pocketed auto insurance premiums – InsuranceNewsNet
Formerly licensed insurance broker Robert Minero, 39, of Downey, Calif., was arraigned on five felony counts including insurance fraud and grand theft.
The charges were filed after an investigation by the California Department of Insurance revealed Minero allegedly sold auto insurance policies to customers but failed to send his customers’ premium to the insurance companies, resulting in uncovered losses of more than $10,000 to at least two victims.
The Department began its investigation after a victim attempted to submit a claim to his insurance company, and discovered the auto insurance policy he purchased from Minero was cancelled prematurely, resulting in an uncovered loss of $5,000. The Department was later notified by an insurance company that Minero’s personal information, including contact and bank information, was connected to more than a dozen other policies.
After Minero’s insurance license expired in September 2018, Minero continued to sell insurance to more than a dozen customers between 2018 and 2021. Minero collected premium payments from victims and at times failed to remit any or all of the premiums to the insurance companies, resulting in policies being cancelled for nonpayment.
At least one additional victim experienced an uncovered loss of more than $5,000 due to Minero’s actions. Other victims experienced lengthy gaps in coverages, and some policies were cancelled by insurance companies after they could not verify information on the policies Minero had purchased.
In total the Department is aware of more than a dozen victims, mostly individuals who are low income and primarily Spanish speaking who paid in cash. Anyone who has placed a policy with Minero should check with their insurance company to ensure their policy is active and up to date, or contact the Department of Insurance at 800-927-4357.
In April 2022, the Department issued Minero a Cease and Desist Order for transacting insurance without a license. The criminal case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Auto Insurance Fraud Division.