A 47-year-old Winnetka, Calif., man pleaded no contest to felony identity theft and grand theft of personal property after he was charged with stealing more than $35,000 from two annuities.
Curry was arrested Feb. 11 by California Department of Insurance (CDI) detectives after an insurance agent raised alarm bells about an unauthorized change of address to an insurance document, the CDI said in a news release.
He used the stolen identity of the annuitant to submit a change of address on the annuity investment and attempted to withdraw $35,000 from two annuities owned by the victim, the CDI said.
CDI investigators found a counterfeit driver's license, Social Security card and checks belonging to a previously unidentified victim, as well as dozens of stolen financial portfolios and personal information of other victims, the CDI said.
Curry, who lives in suburban San Fernando Valley, was in possession of personal identifying information belonging to more than 10 people and planned to use the financial information to steal money from his victims’ investments, the CDI said.
Pomona Woman Arrested
In a separate case, 52-year-old insurance agent Teresa Marie Davis of Pomona, Calif., was sentenced Friday to 16 months in prison after pleading no contest to four counts of identity theft and one count of grand theft, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
Davis was arrested at her home earlier this month and charged with multiple counts of theft in connection with a bogus life insurance application scam that earned her $67,534 in ill-gotten commissions, according to the CDI.
As of Feb. 17, she was unable to make bail of $245,000 and remained in custody at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, Calif., the CDI said.
Davis, a former licensed agent whose licensed expired in 2012, allegedly used the names of several real and fictitious businesses to establish employee payroll acknowledgements.
Payroll acknowledgements signified to the insurer that the businesses' employees were eligible to apply for insurance policies, the CDI said in a news release.
The insurer became suspicious when premium notices were returned for invalid addresses and the applicants' information turned out to also be false.
Davis, who as an agent would have earned a commission on every policy, allegedly submitted as many as 393 insurance applications between March-October 2011, using false consumer information and addresses, the CDI also said.
Davis also used four peoples' identities to apply for insurance policies and linked them to false addresses to cover her tracks, the CDI also said.
When people received letters from carriers about the policies, most ignored or threw out the letters thinking they were mailed in error, CDI said.
"This case is a warning to businesses and individuals on spotting potential identity theft," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in the release.
"Do not simply disregard mail you receive because you believe it's an error; it could be the warning that something more serious is going on."
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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