Rancho Cucamonga Couple Among 12 Defendants Charged in Fraud Scheme

Benefit fraud words in the folder with audit results.

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Rancho Cucamonga couple and 10 others have been charged in an alleged scheme that defrauded the COVID-19 Relief Program and applied, through fake employers, for supplemental short-term disability policies offered by private insurance carriers, officials announced Monday.

The fraud scheme resulted in an alleged loss of about $450,000 to insurance carriers and $60,000 to the COVID-19 Relief Program, according to a joint 87 release from Attorney General Rob Bonta and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

Last week, agents from the state Department of justice arrested the suspects allegedly involved in the scheme, and Monday, they were arraigned on state charges of conspiracy, insurance fraud, grand theft and enhancements for white collar crimes and excessive loss amounts, the DOJ said.

The DOJ did not respond to a request for the names of the defendants.

The Rancho Cucamonga couple -- considered the lead suspects in the case -- obtained about $62,000 of COVID-19 relief funds and over $450,000 of fraudulent short-term disability insurance claims by applying for supplemental short-term disability policies offered by private insurance carriers, such as Aflac, Allstate, Colonia and Combined, the DOJ alleged.

The short-term disability payments were allegedly sent to bank accounts controlled by the couple, and parts of the funds were distributed to other suspects, the DOJ said.

"Crimes against a program like the state's short-term disability fund, which is designed to provide relief to injured Californians by providing them with financial assistance during trying times, will not be tolerated," Bonta said in a statement.

"Those who steal from these programs are stealing from the families who rely on them. My office will vigorously pursue anyone who commits fraud against these critical programs."

Lara added that the suspects "allegedly used false companies and fictitious employees to take advantage of a system designed to help injured workers. These types of schemes negatively impact consumers and businesses through higher costs. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect consumers and combat insurance fraud," according to the release.

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