May 11—A former Madera insurance agent pleaded guilty to embezzling over $20,000 of insurance premium payments from consumers, a state agency said Tuesday.
Wendy Judd, 47, was charged with felony grand theft following an investigation by the California Department of Insurance.
Her case follows the department's announcement Monday that it alleges a former Clovis insurance agent embezzled nearly $20,000 and used the money to buy college sports tickets, pay bills and cover personal expenses.
In the Madera case, the Department of Insurance opened an investigation after receiving a referral from the insurance company where Judd worked. The name of the company was not disclosed.
"The investigation showed that between March 2014 and January 2015 she collected $20,982 in cash premium payments from consumers that were not remitted to the insurance company," the Department of Insurance said in a Tuesday news release.
Judd kept the payments for "her personal benefit" instead of depositing the money into a premium trust account.
"Judd attempted to conceal her actions by depositing personal checks into the premium trust account weeks later, but most of those checks were returned due to insufficient funds," the release says.
Judd resigned from her job in October 2015, and after that, she withdrew an additional $3,000 from the premium trust account, according to the release.
"When interviewed by Department investigators, Judd disputed the amount of money she had taken, but admitted that she had 'borrowed' some premium payments with the intent of eventually paying it back," according to the release.
The Department of Insurance plans to take administrative action to prevent Judd from reinstating her license. Her insurance license expired in September 2020.
The case was prosecuted by the Madera County District Attorney's Office.
Consumers are asked to call 800-927-4357 if they suspect fraud. People can also check their agent's insurance status.
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