Southern California agents charged with embezzlement and theft after allegedly stealing over $60,000 combined
Both suspects left clients at risk by failing to place insurance coverage
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Two recent California Department of Insurance investigations have led to the arrests of insurance agents who allegedly stole tens of thousands of dollars from clients and failed to place insurance coverage for those clients, exposing them to significant financial risk.
“California consumers should be able to trust that their insurance agents are looking out for them and ensuring they are protected,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “These agents not only allegedly stole from their clients, they put their clients at great financial risk.”
Maria Aquino, 34, of South Gate, was charged with multiple felony counts of embezzlement and theft for allegedly pocketing over $48,000 in clients’ insurance premium payments and failing to place insurance coverage for her clients between 2011 and 2018. The premium payments collected by Aquino, while doing business as Kino Insurance and Tax Services, were never sent to insurance carriers. Aquino falsified certificates of insurance for more than eight clients in order to hide her embezzlement. Aquino’s license was revoked on July 12, 2018.
In a separate case, Chih Ming Huang, also known as James Huang, 41, of Rowland Heights, was charged with multiple counts of embezzlement, theft and forgery after allegedly stealing nearly $14,000 dollars from more than three clients and also failing to place insurance coverage for his clients. After receiving a complaint from Farmers Insurance, where Huang had been previously employed, the department found that between 2011 and 2013, Huang embezzled premium payments by placing coverage for clients then canceling the coverage without his clients’ knowledge. Cancelling the coverage generated refund checks to his clients, which he received because he had changed their address on record to a location he controlled. Huang then applied the refunds to policies in the names of his aliases and cancelled those polices to get refunds in his own name, which he deposited into his personal bank account. The department is taking immediate action against Huang’s license.
Both of these cases are being prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Aquino surrendered on February 27, 2019 to the Downey Police Department. Huang will surrender on March 4, 2019.
Call the department’s Consumer Hotline if you fear you may be a victim of fraud 1-800-927-4357 (HELP).
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.