Six months in jail, formal probation and an order to pay restitution to two insurance companies - that was the sentence handed down on August 20, 2013 to a Salinas insurance adjuster and three owner/operators of auto body shops in Salinas.
The four were among five people indicted in September 2011. According to a California Department of Insurance(CDI) investigation, Allstate Adjuster Sergio San Miguel , 40, fraudulently inflated repair estimates and improperly issued payment checks. Two auto body shops, Central Coast Auto Body and Specialty Auto Body, presented fraudulent claims, prosecutors said.
In addition to Miguel, Meliquiades Garibay, 43, Ricardo Robeldo,33 and Joge Torrez, 35 were all sentenced. A fifth man indicted, David Ramirez, is scheduled to be sentenced September 10.
Leading the investigation was California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) member and CDI Detective Keri Larsen, CDI Sgt. Felicia Dolores and CDI Capt. Kathleen Harris. The Monterey County District Attorney's office, CHP and the National Insurance Crime Bureau also assisted.
"One day these guys are going to catch on," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "CDI detectives work diligently to uncover fraud in the insurance industry and it's a good thing, because guys like the ones sentence are the reason our premiums climb so high."
The court ordered restitution is to be paid to Allstate Insurance Company and Farmer's Insurance Company. If the men violate formal probation, they each face at least five years in prison.