News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: January 5, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Poizner Announces Azusa Man Pleads Guilty to Auto Insurance Fraud
California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that Noel Perez, 22, of Azusa has pled guilty to insurance fraud after setting his vehicle on fire at the entrance to Angeles National Forest on Oct. 27 and submitting a fraudulent insurance claim. He was sentenced Dec. 22 to 180 days in jail and three years of probation.
"Torching a vehicle to avoid monthly car payments and then defrauding an insurance company is no way to get through a tough time," Commissioner Poizner said. "That plan never works and we have hundreds of people who work to catch you and make sure you are brought to justice."
By the time officers from the Azusa Police Department arrived at the location, no one was near the vehicle and it was destroyed to the point the vehicle's identification was unknown.
The Azusa Police Department contacted California Department of Insurance (CDI) Los Angeles Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force detectives for assistance in identifying the vehicle.
The investigation identified the vehicle as being reported stolen by Perez, the vehicle's registered owner. Further investigation indicated that the vehicle had been deliberately burned and evidence lead CDI investigators and the Azusa Police Department to Perez as the prime suspect.
On Nov. 12, 2009, Perez admitted during an interview with CDI detectives to burning his vehicle because he couldn't afford the payments. Additionally, the investigation discovered Perez was involved in an unlawful sexual relationship with a minor. CDI detectives arrested Perez on two counts of insurance fraud, one count of arson and one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
Commissioner Poizner oversees 16 CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Approximately 2,000 insurance fraud-related arrests have been made by the Department of Insurance's enforcement division since Commissioner Poizner took office in 2007 - more arrests than have been made during any other two year period, under any previous insurance commissioner.
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