SAN DIEGO – On March 23, 2017, a man and his 71-year-old mother, both of whom pleaded guilty to felony insurance fraud, were sentenced to jail and formal probation for submitting multiple fraudulent auto insurance claims.
Henrietta Silva, 71, was sentenced to serve 270 days in jail stayed on the condition that she complete five days public work service, three year of formal probation, and to pay $15,434 restitution to two victim insurers. Her son, Peter Silva, 42, was sentenced to serve 365 days in jail and three years of formal probation.
"Insurance fraud is a multi-billion dollar crime that has real costs to consumers," said Commissioner Dave Jones. "Insurers pass along their losses to policyholders through higher insurance premiums, which means we all pay."
The California Department of Insurance launched an investigation after receiving a referral from an insurance company the Silvas submitted several auto insurance claims to for identical damages.
“It is mind boggling to think of the amount of insurance fraud that takes place in California,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “California Department of Insurance investigators have high-profile case after high-profile case, and still individuals think they can commit insurance fraud and get away with it. It would behoove them to think again.”
Henrietta Silva surrendered in July 2016 and department detectives arrested Peter Silva later that month. Both pleaded guilty to one felony count of insurance fraud on November 9, 2016. This case was prosecuted by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.