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Agent Charged with Embezzlement Loses License

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Former Bakersfield agent charged in decade-long embezzlement scheme 

On September 6, 2017, licensed insurance agent, Valerie Ann Verdugo, pleaded Nolo Contendere to one misdemeanor count of insurance fraud in Kern County Superior Court. Verdugo was sentenced to four days in county jail, three years court probation, 80 hours of community service, $11,000.35 restitution to the victim carrier and $570 in court fines. Verdugo's license has been suspended. The department is taking appropriate action to revoke Verdugo's license.

Original news release below:

BAKERSFIELD, CA -- Valerie Ann Verdugo, 38, of Bakersfield, is scheduled to be arraigned today on felony insurance fraud charges for obtaining insurance coverage without paying the carrier on those policies for more than a decade.

"Verdugo allegedly used her position as a licensed insurance agent to take advantage of her insurer, which also happened to be her employer," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

Verdugo, a licensed agent, surrendered herself to the Kern County Sheriff's Department and was booked on one felony count of grand theft and one felony count of embezzlement. An investigation by the Department of Insurance's Investigations Branch uncovered evidence that while working for an insurance agency in Bakersfield, Verdugo would allow her own personal auto and homeowner policies to lapse when premiums were due and then simply write a new policy with minor changes to avoid detection by auditors. When the premium was not paid and the policy lapsed again, Verdugo would allegedly repeat the transaction scheme.

Evidence revealed Verdugo did the same for a number of friends and family, ultimately allowing more than 70 policies to lapse and then rewriting them. According to investigators, Verdugo's scheme not only provided her with insurance coverage she did not pay for but led to Farmers insurance losing more than $11,000 in uncollected premiums for insurance coverage the company provided.

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