Friday, August 28, 2009

Two Recent Auto Insurance Fraud Cases For Reporting Vehicles As Stolen From Ventura County

There are two recent auto insurance fraud cases prosecuted by the Ventura County District Attorney's Office. Both cases involve falsely reporting a stolen vehicle and illustrate how one bad decision can snowball out of control and lead to criminal prosecution. As the economy worsens, these type of cases increase.

In addition, Ventura County is known for being hard on crime and the first case where there's been a sentencing involved jail time of 218 days where the loss amount was less than $3,000. The second case involves potential jail time. Thus, venue (where the case is being prosecuted) matters.

Auto Insurance Fraud - 1st Case of Falsely Reporting Stolen Vehicle

On August 19, 2009, Paul Lafflito of Simi Valley was sentenced after previously pleading guilty to felony evading a peace officer and felony auto insurance fraud. Mr. Lafflitio was placed on formal probation for three years and ordered to serve 218 days in the Ventura County jail. He was ordered to pay restitution of $1,278 to Alliance United Insurance Company and an additional $1,592 to the property owners where he crashed his truck.

The allegations in the case were as follows. On March 25, 2009, at 9:00 p.m., two Simi Valley Police Department officers were working undercover in an unmarked patrol vehicle. They were stopped for a red light at the intersection of Sycamore and Royal when they saw a silver Dodge Ram pick-up truck approach the intersection. The Dodge failed to stop for the red light. As the Dodge drove through the intersection, one of the officers shined his spotlight into the cab of the Dodge and got a good look at the driver, Mr. Lafflitio.

The officers tried to pull over the Dodge but the truck sped away. Mr. Lafflitio drove at times between 90 and 100 mph while fleeing from the officers. Because he was driving so fast and recklessly, the officers decided to terminate the pursuit. Minutes later, however, the officers discovered Lafflitio's truck crashed and abandoned on private property off Wood Ranch Parkway. The officers discovered Mr. Lafflitio was the registered owner of the truck and called him. Mr. Lafflitio answered his cell phone and told the officers that he was “night-clubbing” in Hollywood. He added the vehicle must have been stolen from where he last parked it in Simi Valley. He said he would come to the police department the following day to report it stolen.

Unbeknownst to Mr. Lafflitio, both officers got a good look at him driving as the pursuit began. Additionally, cell phone tracking evidence placed Mr. Lafflitio in Simi Valley at the time of the pursuit, not in Hollywood as he told the officers. When Mr. Lafflitio arrived at the Simi Valley Police Department the next day, he was identified and arrested. The officers subsequently learned that prior to arriving at the police department, Mr. Lafflitio called Alliance United Insurance Company and falsely reported his vehicle was stolen.

Auto Insurance Fraud - 2nd Case Of Falsely Reporting Stolen Vehicle

On July 29, 2009, Rodolfo Donjuan of Camarillo pleaded guilty to one count of felony auto insurance fraud. This case was investigated by the California Department of Insurance Fraud Division.

Mr. Donjuan contacted the Ventura County Sheriff's Department on July 18, 2008, and reported his 2000 Chevrolet Silverado had been stolen from a friend's house in Camarillo . The Silverado was subsequently located abandoned and wrecked a short distance away. Mr. Donjuan also filed a claim with his insurance carrier, Infinity Insurance.

During the next two months, Mr. Donjuan gave Infinity Insurance conflicting statements about the theft of his vehicle. His insurance claim was transferred to Infinity's Special Investigations Unit.

On September 24, 2008, Mr. Donjuan was deposed under oath by an Infinity Insurance attorney. During the deposition, Mr. Donjuan was confronted with his inconsistent statements and admitted that he had lied. Mr. Donjuan stated he had been drinking beer and was driving when he crashed his vehicle. Mr. Donjuan said he ran away from the scene because he was afraid.

Mr. Donjuan will be sentenced on August 25, 2009. The maximum penalty for this charge is five years in state prison and a fine of up to $50,000. His sentence will depend on a number of factors and could range from probation to state prison depending upon his prior record and whether he has paid restitution to the insurance company.

Any questions or comments should be directed to: or 213-233-2260. Tracy Green is a principal at Green and Associates in Los Angeles, California. Ms. Green focuses her practice on the representation of licensed professionals, individuals and businesses in civil, business, administrative and criminal proceedings. She has significant experience in defending individuals, licensed professionals and businesses in insurance fraud investigations. The firm website is:


DISCLAIMER: Green & Associates' articles and blog postings are prepared as a service to the public and are not intended to grant rights or impose obligations. Nothing in this website should be construed as legal advice. Green & Associates' articles and blog postings may contain references or links to statutes, regulations, or other policy materials. The information provided is only intended to be a general summary. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. We encourage readers to review the specific statutes, regulations, and other interpretive materials for a full and accurate statement of their contents and contact their attorney for legal advice. The primary purpose of this website is not the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service and this website is not an advertisement or solicitation. Anyone viewing this web site in a state where the web site fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state, should disregard this web site.

The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to create, and does not create, a lawyer-client relationship with Green & Associates, Attorneys at Law. Sending an e-mail to Tracy Green does not contractually obligate them to represent you as your lawyer, or create any type of client relationship. No attorney-client relationship will be formed absent a written engagement or retainer letter agreement signed by both Green & Associates and client and which specifies the scope of the engagement.

Please note that e-mail transmission is not secure unless it is encrypted. E-mail messages sent to Ms. Green should not include confidential or sensitive information.