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Local News In Brief : Bookkeeper Accused of Selling Fake Insurance

A Canoga Park man has been charged with selling phony insurance policies in a series of misdemeanor counts, the Los Angeles city attorney’s office said.

Robert Stuart Jr. is to be arraigned on May 17 in Los Angeles Municipal Court on 10 counts of misdemeanor grand theft, three counts of acting as an insurance agent or broker without a license, three counts of misrepresenting a seller of professional services and one count of petty theft, according to the office. He was arrested earlier this month.

According to Deputy City Atty. Paula Stringer, Stuart had worked as a bookkeeper at the Van Nuys-based Great World Insurance Services, owned by a legitimate insurance agent. The owner died in August, 1983, and, not long afterward, Stuart began selling phony auto and property insurance policies, Stringer said.

The state Department of Insurance was alerted in mid-1984, when people who had filed insurance claims complained that they had found Stuart had sold them policies with numbers that either were nonexistent or belonged to other policy-holders, she said.

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Stringer said authorities had identified 11 victims, all residents of the San Fernando Valley. She said some spent thousands of dollars on premiums, and one man faces the prospect of receiving no compensation for his car, which was destroyed in an accident.

Stringer said dozens of Stuart’s clients could be unaware that they have false policies. People who suspect they may have been victimized should contact investigator Gilbert Rosas at the Los Angeles office of the state Department of Insurance.

If convicted, Stuart could be sentenced to a maximum of one year in County Jail and a $1,000 fine for each grand theft charge and six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for the other charges. He was at first released on bail but was later granted a release on his own recognizance, Stringer said.


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