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2nd Defendant Vanishes in Insurance Fraud Case

Times Staff Writer

Authorities are seeking a Glendale man who failed to appear Tuesday for a court hearing on charges that he stole more than $1 million from a Woodland Hills insurance company.

Darrell Edward Miller, 27, was to have attended a preliminary hearing on charges that he joined in a scheme to embezzle claims funds from Allianz Insurance Company. Van Nuys Municipal Judge Beauford M. Phelps issued an arrest warrant after Miller failed to appear.

Authorities also are searching for Miller’s co-defendant, Michael Lynn Duncan, 37, of West Hollywood, who pleaded guilty Nov. 2 to embezzlement but failed to appear for his sentencing Dec. 19, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Stuart C. Lytton. Duncan faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

None of the $1 million has been recovered.

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Despite Duncan’s failure to appear in December, prosecutors did not fear that Miller also had fled. Lytton said Miller seemed cooperative and had appeared for all his previous court hearings, including his most recent, Nov. 2.

Miller’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Thom Tibor, said he had not spoken to his client recently but would not say when their last conversation occurred.

Duncan, a former claims supervisor at Allianz, set up phony insurance claims under the names of numerous real and fictitious people, Lytton said. Between Dec. 3, 1984, and Nov. 20, 1987, Duncan issued more than 200 claim checks for amounts as high as $10,000, then cashed the checks himself, Lytton said.

Prosecutors said some checks were issued in Miller’s name and others were in his bank accounts.

The scheme was discovered during a company audit in February, 1988. Miller was arrested May 13 and was free from jail on his own recognizance. Duncan was arrested June 6 and was free on bail.

Miller also is charged with embezzlement and faces up to five years in prison if convicted.


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