Unlicensed Moreno Valley insurance agent charged with stealing $174,000 – Press-Enterprise

A Moreno Valley woman has been charged with stealing $174,000 from port truck drivers and charter bus operators who gave her cash after she told them it would speed up getting the policies they needed to work, the state insurance commissioner’s office said.

Instead, unlicensed insurance agent Connie Free, 34, used the payments “for her own use,” a news release from the agency said. The money never reached the insurance companies.

The scheme included issuing some victims fraudulent certificates of insurance and insurance identification cards, the agency said.

Free lost her insurance agent license last year in connection with another case not related to insurance fraud, the commissioner’s office said.

Some of the drivers were turned away at ports or other destinations for not having insurance, while others learned they were uninsured when they checked their status on authorized web sites, the agency said.

Free is scheduled for arraignment Monday, Feb. 26 in Riverside County Superior Court on charges that include grand theft and forgery.

Free, whom court records say also uses the name Connie Loot, was free after posting bond on bail set at $198,552.27, the docket shows. She was arrested on Jan. 10.  Court records on Sunday did not give the name of an attorney for her.

“This agent allegedly robbed truck drivers who already have some of America’s hardest jobs,” Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said in a statement. “This unlicensed agent not only allegedly stole from her clients, she put them at risk of losing their livelihood.”

The office said the seven drivers who make the basis for the criminal case “were forced to find and pay for other policies to meet the coverage requirements … causing them to incur losses over and above the premium amounts provided to Free for non-existent policies.”

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Free solicited the drivers and offered them attractive insurance quotes through her Justyce Insurance or Pure Justyce Insurance Agency, the commissioner’s office said.

She told the drivers to deposit cash payments into her bank account so she could quickly obtain a policy for them, Lara’s office said.

The alleged victims in the filed case, which will be prosecuted by the Riverside County District Attorney’s office, include “primarily truck drivers and small businesses in the trucking or charter bus industry,” the agency said.

Lara’s office said there may be additional cases and the investigation is continuing. Anyone who believes they may be a victim should contact the California Department of Insurance at (714) 712-7600.



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