“If an insurance company or an individual suspects insurance fraud, CDI detectives and investigators work to determine what, if any, criminal activity took place. With so much technology and cross referencing that investigators have available to them, it’s surprising that unscrupulous individuals continue to attempt to rip-of insurance companies. Unfortunately, we all pay a higher price for premiums because of that illegal activity.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
San Rafael– On March 15, 2022, the Marin County District Attorney’s Office announced that a San Rafael couple pled guilty for their role in a scheme to defraud an auto insurance company in August of 2020.
Sandra Yohanna Tejada, 55, pled guilty to fraudulently supporting an insurance claim, a felony, and her husband, Juan Cadena Nunez, 63, pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of being an accessory after the fact related to an insurance claim for personal injury that was filed after their car was struck by a drunk driver.
According to the investigation by the California Department of Insurance (CDI), Tejada and Cadena Nunez's vehicle was struck by a drunk driver on August 4, 2020 while parked on Woodland Avenue in San Rafael. The couple made false statements to the San Rafael Police Department at the time of the collision, stating that they were in their vehicle when the collision occurred. They subsequently retained an attorney to file an insurance claim alleging that they sustained injuries during the collision. Despite their claims, investigators were able to locate surveillance footage from a nearby business that showed that the vehicle was unoccupied at the time of the collision and that Tejada and Cadena Nunez only arrived on the scene after the collision occurred.
The couple pled guilty on Thursday, March 10, 2022 before Marin Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Howard in a negotiated disposition with prosecutors. Cadena Nunez was placed on one year of informal court probation with terms that include restitution to the insurance company for the cost of investigating the false claim as well as 10 days in the Marin County Jail. Tejada returns for sentencing before Judge Howard on April 14, 2022. Deputy District Attorney Sean Kensinger prosecuted the case.
"Insurance fraud hurts all Marin residents by increasing insurance premiums for those who take the responsible step of insuring their vehicles as required by law,” Kensinger said. “Whether it involves staging a collision to get a vehicle repaired, or faking an injury with the hope of receiving a payday from the insurance company, the Marin County District Attorney's Office will continue to partner with the California Department of Insurance to hold those engaged in auto insurance fraud criminally accountable"
Insurance Fraud is a crime punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.