RIVERSIDE – A former Riverside agent was convicted of grand theft after selling bogus surety bonds the California Department of Insurance officials said. The crime targeted a large retailer and victimized clients of over $334 thousand in premiums.
Riverside resident, John Antonio Ruiz, 49 was convicted of 11 felony counts of grand theft after stealing client premiums for bogus surety bonds. This theft, exposed clients, including a major retailer to in some cases significant losses.
Business was conducted under the name of Cornerstone Surety and Insurance Agency. Ruiz sold and issued multiple performance and payment bonds to a general contractor, who California Department of Insurance officials said included the bonds with winning bids for numerous new store construction projects. The retailer discovered that the surety bonds were bogus after attempting to satisfy liens filed by subcontractors.
Through investigation, the California Department of Insurance Investigation Division discovered that Ruiz did not have a valid agent license. Furthermore, the investigation revealed that the collected premiums were pocketed by Ruiz and were never remitted to insurance companies.
“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.”
Ruiz is scheduled to return to the Riverside Superior court to be sentenced on July 15th.
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