- Don't pay an insurance agent in cash for your premium.
- The most common real estate broker violations enforced in California are related to trust fund record keeping and shortage.
- In January the Bureau of Real Estate conducted 37 enforcement actions related to Los Angeles metro-based real estate agents.
Two recent court cases involving Los Angeles metro insurance agents are examples of why consumers should verify coverage with their insurance companies.
According to the California Department of Insurance (CDI), this week former insurance broker Julie Diane Shinar of Long Beach was convicted of theft by embezzlement.
Shinar received cash payments from clients and instead of remitting the payments to the insurance carrier, used the funds for her own benefit for roughly two years.
The embezzlement was discovered during a routine insurance company audit of Shinar’s trust account.
She has been ordered to serve three years formal probation and pay $29,158 in restitution to her victims.
Last week, Said Lakhlifi of Covina, a licensed insurance agent and owner of Mogador Insurance Center, was convicted on three misdemeanor counts of identity theft, forgery and petty theft.
According to CDI, Lakhlifi failed to forward a client’s premium for their homeowners’ policy after a claim related to water damage and mold was filed.
Lakhlifi filed the calm on behalf of the client and arranged for a contractor to make the necessary repairs. However, the contractor refused to do the work after Lakhlifi attempted to “undercut” them.
In order to conceal the premium theft and lack of insurance coverage Lakhlifi was paying for the claim out of his own pocket. In another attempt to hide the lack of insurance, he forged an insurance application so the homeowners would have coverage again.
Update 8/24/2017: Said Lakhlifi’s case was dismissed as of Aug. 2, 2017; he had paid $29,767.14 in victim’s restitution, according to a court document from the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles.
Real estate violations
According to California Department of Real Estate the most common broker violations enforced in the state are related to trust fund record keeping and shortage.
In a recent spring newsletter from the Bureau of Real Estate (BRE) it was stated that a lack of knowledge and lack of trust fund software expertise, on the part of a broker, typically leads to these violations.
Other common broker violations enforced include failure to supervise and unlicensed activity. The first violation occurs when a real estate broker fails to exercise “reasonable supervision” over the activities of its salespeople. Unlicensed activity violations happen when a broker pays an unlicensed individual for acts that require a real estate license.
In January the BRE conducted 37 enforcement actions related to Los Angeles metro-based real estate agents. The majority of the actions were related to license revocation/suspension or license reinstatement.