Insurance at the heart of California arson case

A woman in Rancho Santa Margarita has now entered a plea against charges she set her home ablaze to collect the insurance

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

Andrea Michelle Robinson, 41, pleaded guilty on Jan. 7 to setting her homes and car on fire to commit insurance fraud; she also admitted welfare fraud while not disclosing her income from the insurance claims.

Robinson pleads guilty to six counts of arson, three counts of grand theft, and multiple counts of insurance fraud, according to court records. She is set to be sentenced on Jan. 21.

Although she claimed the money was for welfare, Robinson purchased luxurious electronics, handbags, and even automobiles.

According to statements by the prosecution, Robinson’s first arson was her daughter’s room in her Rancho Santa Margarita house in August 2009. When she was charged in August 2013, she was awarded $25,000 from her insurer.

Robinson later set fire to her Aliso Viejo home’s master bedroom in May 2011, said prosecutors. She told investigators that she blew out a candle before exiting the house. She later collected $46,000 from her insurance company.

In another case, she set fire to her Volkswagen Passat in Santa Ana, and then headed for the Westfield Main Place Mall to provide herself with an alibi, prosecutors said. When pressed by investigators, she claimed that her vehicle must have been stolen from the mall’s parking lot. She received $9,600 insurance payment for the damage to her vehicle.

On June 1, 2012, she set her carpet on fire in the bedroom of her Laguna Niguel apartment. The fire damage was not significant enough, so she attempted arson yet again on June 6, 2012 by torching another carpet. She claimed that a neighbor threw a burning object into her home. Prosecutors noted that investigators noticed scorch marks from Robinsons’ previous arson attempt on June 1.

In July 2008, Robinson moved from New Mexico to Orange County. Since then, she has illicitly collected more than $85,000 in housing, welfare, and health benefits.

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