LOS ANGELES -On August 24, 2020, the California Department of Insurance announced that Joseph Schimmel, a former Westlake Village insurance agent, was arraigned on multiple felony counts of grand theft, burglary, and financial elder abuse for allegedly stealing more than $55,000 in insurance premiums from six clients, four of whom were senior citizens.
An investigation by the California Department of Insurance alleges that Schimmel, while doing business as Schimmel Insurance Services, Inc., from December 2018 through December 2019 victimized six clients by collecting $55,564.66 in insurance premiums yet failed to place the appropriate coverage. Unbeknownst to his clients, Schimmel allegedly funneled their money to his own personal account and failed to purchase their insurance coverage. Schimmel’s alleged embezzlement left his clients exposed to potential substantial financial losses as a result of being uninsured.
“When there are high quality investigators such as those employed by the California Department of Insurance, anyone committing insurance fraud should be aware that they are going to be caught,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Leaving people uninsured when they have paid for coverage is criminal, and targeting senior citizens is not only criminal, it’s soulless.”
Schimmel self-surrendered on August 21, 2020, to the Los Angeles County Superior Court in San Fernando. Bail was set at $180,000 and he was released on his own recognizance.
The Department of Insurance filed an accusation against Schimmel on May 8, 2020. Schimmel’s license expired on June 30, 2020. He was the principal owner of Schimmel Insurance Services, Inc. with a license that expired on December 31, 2019.
The case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.