Former California agent pleads guilty to felony grand theft

Former California agent pleads guilty to felony grand theft | Insurance Business

Former California agent pleads guilty to felony grand theft

A former insurance agent from Madera, CA has pleaded guilty to felony grand theft after she misappropriated more than $20,000 worth of insurance premium payments.

The California Department of Insurance (CDI) launched an investigation into Wendy Judd, 47, after receiving a referral from the undisclosed insurance company that employed her. The investigation uncovered that between March 2014 and January 2015, Judd collected some $20,982 in cash premium payments from consumers that were not remitted to the insurance company.

According to the state insurance department, Judd credited the consumers’ policies with the payments to keep them in force. However, she failed to deposit the funds into a premium trust account for the insurance company. She instead pocketed the cash for her personal benefit, the regulator said.

Judd attempted to conceal her theft by depositing personal checks into the premium trust account weeks after she misappropriated the payments, but most of those checks were returned due to insufficient funds.

Even after Judd resigned from the insurance company in October 2015, she continued to steal even more money by withdrawing another $3,000 of premium payments from the trust account, CDI said. When confronted by CDI investigators about this, Judd disputed the amount she took from the trust account, but admitted that she “borrowed” some premium payments with the intent of paying it back in the future.

Judd’s license expired in September 2020.

A CDI release said that the regulator is in the process of initiating an administrative action to prevent Judd from reinstating the license. The case was prosecuted by the Madera County District Attorney's Office.