Two insurance agents were arraigned in Los Angeles County Superior Court earlier this week for allegedly accepting more than $687,000 in insurance premium payments from business owners, and then pocketing that money for personal use.
Both Robert Farmer, 65, and Marion Urcan, 67, face multiple counts of grand theft. The two, who did business as Centerpointe Insurance Services Limited in Camarillo, CA, allegedly accepted insurance payments from two towing companies in the Los Angeles area.
According to a release from the California Department of Insurance (CDI), it received a complaint from one of the towing companies’ owners on June 20, 2019. The complaint alleged that Centerpointe Insurance Services accepted two checks totaling $391,000 for the company’s commercial auto insurance policy – however neither Farmer nor Urcan forwarded the payments to the insurance carrier, the towing company owner purported.
CDI later received another complaint from the other towing company on December 20, 2019, which also alleged that Centerpointe misappropriated a $50,000 down payment made toward the renewal of the towing company’s commercial auto insurance policy.
An investigation by the CDI eventually revealed that Farmer and Urcan accepted more than $687,000 in total from the two towing companies, but never sent the payments to an insurance company, which meant that the two towing companies were left without any liability insurance.
Farmer and Urcan are scheduled to return to court on March 05, 2021.
CDI has since taken “appropriate administrative action” against the two agents, the department said in a release. The regulator has also advised that anyone who has been victimized by either Farmer or Urcan should contact the CDI.
“By allegedly taking payments but not placing insurance coverage, these licensed insurance agents left these small businesses at risk for devastating financial loss,” said California insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara in a statement.
Lara added that the CDI will continue its efforts to protect small business owners from fraud that would threaten their livelihoods.