VENTURA, Calif. — Insurance agent Brenda Cervantes, 31, of Oxnard, and unlicensed employee Edith “Emely” Arellano-Quinones, 39, of Ojai, were arraigned today on misdemeanor counts of insurance fraud after allegedly selling auto insurance without proper licensing and putting their customers’ coverage and information at risk. The case is a reminder to consumers to always check the license status of their agent on the California Department of Insurance’s website or by calling its hotline number.
Investigators from the Department conducted undercover visits to a number of Victoria’s Auto Insurance Services in Ventura County in order to obtain quotes for insurance services.
Investigator visits, along with interviews with employees and customers, revealed Arellano-Quinones was operating and supervising a branch of Victoria’s Auto Insurance Services in Oxnard without being properly licensed as an insurance agent. Arellano-Quinones was previously licensed by the Department, but surrendered her license in 2008.
Arellano-Quinones illegally used login credentials from various insurance companies provided by Cervantes, a licensed insurance agent who also worked for Victoria’s Auto Insurance Services. Cervantes provided these login credentials to several employees who were not licensed to provide quotes to customers.
The investigation also determined Arellano-Quinones was knowingly, and at the direction of Cervantes, providing insurance advice and recommendations without a license. Their actions put consumers in financial risk and by using an unlicensed agent and false credentials it could have potentially invalidated their purchased insurance coverage.
Cervantes and Arellano-Quinones pleaded not guilty and will return to court on November 2, 2020. The Department is taking action against Cervantes’ license. The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.