BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Formerly licensed insurance agent Anaiza Villarreal Lopez, 30, of McFarland, was sentenced yesterday in Kern County Superior Court on one count of grand theft by embezzlement after pocketing clients’ premium payments and leaving several of them uninsured.
After receiving a complaint, the Department of Insurance launched an investigation in February 2020 which found Lopez stole more than $1,200 from seven clients by pocketing their premium payments meant to secure automobile insurance policies. Most of the victims were low income and primarily Spanish speaking. During the investigation, Lopez admitted to diverting the premium payments from her clients’ access cards to her personal “Square” account and using the funds for personal gain. A “Square” account is a point of sale purchasing process from credit and debit cards for business and personal accounts.
Lopez was able to mislead her victims by naming her personal “Square” account “Auto Insurance” in order to lead them to believe their payments were going toward the purchase of auto insurance. In one instance, Lopez’s actions led to an uninsured loss of $4,166, which was fortunately covered by the insurance broker that employed Lopez.
Lopez has been ordered to pay restitution to each of her victims, including her employer. Lopez’s license was revoked on October 5, 2022.
This case was prosecuted by the Kern County District Attorney’s Office.
Source: California Department of Insurance
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