An insurance agent who skimmed from her clients’ premiums to pay her own bills was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Terri Anne Sammons, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft earlier this month. She was originally charged with 18 felony counts of theft, but she struck a deal with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. The deal had Sammons plead guilty to the single count, serve the jail sentence and pay $6,118 in restitution, the state Insurance Commission announced Wednesday.
She also lost her right to work in the insurance field, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said. “Any licensed insurance agent that steals from policyholders will be fully investigated, prosecuted and kept from selling insurance ever again,” Jones said.
If one of Sammons’ customers were to have an accident when she stole their payments, they would find themselves uncovered, Jones said.
“Bilking Californian out of their premium payments leaves consumers extremely vulnerable and potentially without coverage should they get into an accident, have a health issue or suffer damage to their home, and it will not be tolerated.”
Sammons stole $12,780 during 2005 and 2006 at Temecula office of Tustin-based Beissel Insurance by pocketing cash payments customers dropped off or mailed to her office, according to the commission.
Sammons then sent her victims premium refunds and escrow account disbursals to cover her tracks, investigators said.
Sammons used the money to make at least one payment on a credit card, according to the commission.
Sammons’ higher-ups discovered her scam when a customer’s homeowner’s insurance policy was cancelled due to missing payments. The company investigated the missing payments and found Sammons at the end of the paper trail, investigators said.
The company refunded several victims, and Sammons’ license was suspended.
City News Service contributed to this report.