A Bakersfield insurance agent has been arrested for several embezzlement charges.
36-year-old Jose Luis Yanez, Jr. surrendered to authorities and was arraigned in Kern County Superior Court back on March 29.
Yanez is charged with one felony count of grand theft and one felony count of embezzlement for allegedly stealing consumers' premiums and not placing the coverage they purchased.
Officials said the department of Insurance investigators responded to an allegation from an insurer that terminated Yanez's employment when they uncovered evidence that he accepted cash payments for premiums from consumers, did not place the coverage they purchased, and pocketed their premiums for his personal use.
"Yanez's alleged theft left homeowners without coverage and at great financial risk to loss," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "I have zero tolerance for agents who violate their fiduciary responsibility and take advantage of consumers."
The Department of Insurance officials said they are concerned there may be more victims in this case.
They are urging consumers who purchased insurance from Yanez to contact their insurer and verify their coverage.
In addition to the premium theft, Yanez also allegedly falsified documents to over report the number of policies he sold, which resulted in him collecting commissions he had not earned.