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Calif. Insurance Agent Arrested On Suspicion Of Selling Bogus Policies

By Redding Record Searchlight, Calif.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Dec. 12--The California Department of Insurance says a Redding-area agent has been arrested on suspicion of grant theft, insurance fraud and petty theft after he allegedly collected insurance premiums while issuing bogus insurance certificates.

Rodger Edward Winkler, 64, was arrested by the Shasta County District Attorney's Office on Nov. 21. He was arrested on suspicion of two felony counts of grand theft of personal funds, three felony counts of insurance fraud and one count of misdemeanor petty theft.

According to the insurance department, several people reported paying Winkler for coverage and then not getting it. Two customers contacted the insurance company and were told their policies were canceled for non-payment of premium.

Some others found out their certificates were fraudulent, officials said.

"Winkler's crimes are particularly offensive because he potentially victimized consumers twice," Insurance Commissioner Dave Jone said in a news release. "When Winkler stole premiums from consumers and issued bogus insurance certificates, he left them vulnerable to additional loss because they actually did not have coverage for their car, home or business."

So far, investigators say they've found Winkler collected more than $6,000 from clients' workers' compensation, general liability and commercial automobile insurance policies. They say Winkler didn't forward the premiums, putting his clients at risk of uncovered loss.

The department of insurance is taking action to suspend Winkle's license and stop him from selling more policies.

If you've bought insurance from Winkler, call your insurance company and verify your coverage, officials said. If you bought a policy from Winkler and don't have legitimate coverage, call the department's Consumer Hotline at 1-800-927-4357.

Winkler is out on $50,000 bail and will be arraigned Jan. 6, according to the Department of Insurance.


(c)2013 the Redding Record Searchlight (Redding, Calif.)

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