RIVERSIDE – A 49-year-old Riverside man was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to selling bogus surety bonds, California Department of Insurance (CDI) officials said. Last Friday, John Antonio Ruiz pleaded guilty to the 11 felony counts of Grand theft at the Riverside Superior Court.
Ruiz according to the CDI, sold $334,972 in surety bonds and pocketed the client’s premiums while doing business as Cornerstone Surety and Insurance. Ruiz sold and issued multiple performance and payment bonds to a general contractor who included the bonds in a winning bid for new store constructions projects. This theft exposed a major retailer to losses on a construction project.
The scheme went unnoticed until the retailer attempted to satisfy liens filed by subcontractors. When doing so they learned that the bonds were bogus and that there was no coverage to satisfy the liens. The discovery sparked a CDI Investigation Division investigation. Through the investigation, they learned that Ruiz did not have a valid agent license and did not remit any of the premiums collected to the insurance company.
“Ruiz’s theft of more than a quarter of a million in premiums left the contractor and the retail client at great financial risk,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “I have zero tolerance for dishonest agents or brokers that scam clients.”
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