State officials warn of alleged scam by insurance agent
A Redding area insurance agent has been arrested for theft and providing bogus insurance certificates to clients.
The California Department of Insurance has issued a consumer warning and urges potential victims to call their consumer hotline.
Rodger Edward Winkler, 64, a property and casualty agent was arrested on November 21 by Shasta County District Attorney investigators. He faces a series of felony charges including grand theft, insurance fraud and petty theft. Investigators said Winkler allegedly collected insurance premiums from clients and issued bogus insurance certificates.
The California Department of Insurance urges anyone who purchased insurance from Winkler to contact their insurance company and verify coverage.
"Winkler's crimes are particularly offensive because he potentially victimized consumers twice, said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "When Winkler stole premiums from consumers and issued bogus insurance certificates, he left them vulnerable to additional loss because they actually did not have coverage for their car, home or business."
The department received several requests for assistance from consumers who claimed that after paying Winkler for insurance coverage they did not receive the coverage promised.
Two of the consumers contacted the insurance companies when they did not receive their policies and were told the policies were canceled for non-payment of premium. Other consumers who paid Winkler and received insurance certificates found out the certificates were allegedly fraudulent after the insurance companies confirmed the policy information on the certificates was bogus.
Investigators said Winkler collected more than $6,000 from clients for workers' compensation, general liability, and commercial automobile insurance coverage and allegedly failed to forward the premium exposing his clients to the risk of uncovered loss.
The Department of Insurance is taking enforcement action to suspend Winkler's agent license and prohibit him from transacting insurance business. The department is also asking anyone that purchased insurance from Winkler and find they do not have legitimate coverage to contact the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357.
Winkler is currently out on $50,000 bail and is scheduled for arraignment in Shasta County Superior Court on January 6.
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