News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: May 13, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Announces Two Santa Cruz Suspects Arrested, Face Charges For Filing False Auto Insurance Claim
Woman Allegedly Got Into Accident, Then Bought Insurance, Lied About Time of Accident
Insurance Commissioner Poizner today announced the arrests of two suspects for allegedly presenting a false insurance claim, making false statements in support of an insurance claim, and conspiracy. Carrie Berlogar, 31, self-surrendered on May 7, and Dan Bahcall, 38, self-surrendered on May 12. Both were booked into the Santa Cruz County jail. Bail was set at $10,000.
"It is important for drivers to avoid allowing the stress of a car accident to compromise their judgment," said Commissioner Poizner. "Insurance fraud is never 'worth it.' Committing fraud will only result in a hefty fine or a jail sentence."
An investigation conducted by the California Department of Insurance, resulted in the arrest of Carrie Berlogar and Dan Bahcall on charges related to automobile insurance fraud. Esurance Property and Casualty Insurance Company (Esurance) reported this matter to the CDI in July 2009.
According to investigators, on June 18, 2009, Berlogar was backing out of her driveway in her 2001 Ford F150 when she collided into Bahcall's parked Toyota Camry at approximately 3 p.m. Bahcall arrived at the scene and discovered the damage to his vehicle at approximately 5 p.m. Berlogar allegedly told Bahcall that she collided with his vehicle and did not have insurance, but was working on purchasing it.
Berlogar allegedly returned home and purchased an insurance policy online through Esurance at approximately 5:51p.m. Berlogar and Bahcall purportedly agreed to report that the accident occurred after she purchased the insurance policy in order to obtain coverage for the damage to Bahcall's vehicle.
On June 19, 2009, Berlogar called Esurance and filed an insurance claim. Berlogar allegedly told Esurance that she backed into Bahcall's vehicle on June 18 at approximately 10:30 p.m. Bahcall also called Esurance and reported that he discovered the damage to his vehicle between 10 and 11 p.m.
Esurance became suspicious when they reviewed the claim and noticed the date and time of Berlogar's accident happened within hours of when she purchased the policy. Esurance referred the suspected fraud to CDI, which launched an investigation.
CDI investigators allege that Berlogar did not have insurance at the time of the accident. The potential loss for Esurance was $1,289.
Commissioner Poizner urges all Californians to obtain the automobile insurance that is required by law, so that they are adequately covered before accidents occur. The California Low Cost Auto Insurance program offers low-cost liability coverage to eligible Californians for under $400 per year.
The Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting this case.
Commissioner Poizner oversees sixteen CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Nearly 2,800 insurance fraud-related arrests have been made by CDI since Commissioner Poizner took office in 2007 - more arrests than have been made during any other three year period, under any previous insurance commissioner.
Please visit the Department of Insurance Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Callers from out of state, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
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