On October 15, 2014, Dawna Louise Ernster, also known as Dawna Louise Salois, 48, of El Cajon, was arrested on 14 felony counts of grand theft, 14 felony counts of failure to disclose events affecting insurance coverage and two misdemeanor counts of petty theft.
Ernster was licensed as an insurance agent and specialized in selling general liability insurance policies to construction companies. More than a dozen companies and individuals reported to the California Department of Insurance that Ernster collected and allegedly stole their insurance premiums. Investigators with the Department of Insurance suspect there may be additional victims in this case and are asking anyone who may have done business with Ernster, aka Salois, to contact them.
"This is criminal activity and cannot be tolerated," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) which represents Department of Insurance investigators. "Investigators with the Department of Insurance are the very best at bringing these suspects to justice, I only wish we had more of them to uncover the unscrupulous individuals who steal from innocent people, leaving them uninsured when they thought they were protected."
A preliminary hearing for Ernster is scheduled for Wednesday, October 29. If convicted, she faces up to 18 years in state prison.