“Insurance agents are in a position of trust and when they violate that trust and steal money from clients, California Department of Insurance investigators work to identify the crimes, arrest the suspect, and assist in the prosecution. They work to protect consumers and the integrity of the industry.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
SAN DIEGO – On May 16, 2023, the California Department of Insurance announced that John Philip Ryan, 64, of Yucca Valley, was sentenced and ordered to pay more than $220,000 in restitution to victims after pleading guilty to two felony counts of financial elder abuse and grand theft of insurance premiums. Ryan received two years’ probation and credit for the 323 days he spent in jail after he was arrested last year.
An investigation by the California Department of Insurance found Ryan acted in his capacity as a licensed insurance agent to steal money from his clients, some of which was intended to be used to pay insurance premiums. The Department has revoked Ryan’s insurance licenses and licensing rights and banned him from participating in the business of insurance.
The Department opened an investigation in 2017 after receiving a complaint from Ryan’s former employee that Ryan retained premiums instead of remitting them to insurance companies. One of the victims of these crimes, Gregg Juarez, was a former art dealer and philanthropist who passed away in May 2018 at the age of 94. Ryan used his position as Juarez’s longtime insurance agent to gain trust and access financial documents and information in order to commit his crimes. Search warrants executed on Ryan’s bank accounts revealed that Ryan misappropriated $87,000 over a period of at least two years from Juarez.
During the investigation, the California Department of Insurance found Ryan transacted insurance under the names of “Calinsured”, “Greater Palm Springs Insurance” and “PS Independent Insurance”. The investigation revealed 11 additional victims who Ryan stole from, including another client who was in his 80s. The combined total stolen by Ryan from all his victims was more than $220,000.