News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: July 16, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Announces San Bruno Man Arraigned in Connection with 'Crash and Buy' Insurance Fraud Scam
Insurance Commissioner Poizner today announced the arraignment of a San Bruno man for allegedly fraudulently reporting to his insurance company a collision that occurred before coverage was added to his vehicle, a scheme also known as "crash and buy."
"If you are driving without auto insurance, you are breaking the law and putting everyone else on the road at risk," said Commissioner Poizner. "Committing insurance fraud is the worst way to cover your tracks if you are in an accident without insurance. You must be insured before you get behind the wheel, or you will face serious consequences."
Jason Bato, 36, was arraigned on July 9 on three felony counts of insurance fraud.
Farmers Insurance suspected fraud and reported it to the Department of Insurance on July 24, 2009. Following receipt of the referral, CDI immediately launched an investigation. Investigators discovered that on June 22, 2009, at approximately 12: 55 p.m., Bato was involved in a two-car accident in San Francisco. Bato allegedly did not have a valid insurance policy at the time of the accident. He allegedly provided the driver of the second vehicle information to an old policy that was no longer valid.
On June 22 at approximately 1:37 p.m., Bato purchased an insurance policy from Farmers Insurance. He later provided the new insurance policy information to the driver of the other vehicle. The accident was reported to Farmers on June 29. During the company's investigation of the claim, Bato allegedly provided false statements that the accident occurred after her purchased the policy. On July 23, he admitted to Farmers that he purchased the policy immediately after the accident. After concluding its investigation, Farmers determined Bato's policy was not in effect at the time of the accident and subsequently denied his claim.
On April 8, 2010, CDI detectives obtained a statement from Bato in which he admitted to purchasing his policy after the accident and to providing false statements to Farmers on several occasions.
Although Farmers denied Bato's claim, the insurer incurred $718 in investigative costs due to misrepresentations allegedly made by Bato.
The case is being prosecuted by the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.
Commissioner Poizner reminds all Californians that driving without insurance is illegal, but there are affordable options for recently unemployed or low-income drivers with good driving records. Driving without insurance and committing insurance fraud to cover your tracks is illegal and costly. The California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program offers affordable coverage to help eligible drivers comply with the law. For more information, visit the CDI website or call 800-866-AUTO-1.
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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