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SJC Couple, Aliso Viejo Man Plead Not Guilty in Insurance Scam

The threesome is accused of purchasing policies to help two agents earn commissions with no intention to pay after the first premium payment, bilking the companies of $600K.

Three South Orange County people are charged in connection with an insurance scam. Patch file photo.
Three South Orange County people are charged in connection with an insurance scam. Patch file photo.

Two insurance agents and three alleged cohorts pleaded not guilty today to charges they conducted a scam to bilk insurance companies of about $600,000.

From August through mid-November of 2010, two of the defendants allegedly sold the three others insurance for a first-time premium that was reimbursed for the total amount paid for a full year. The two collected a commission and the three others made no further payments, letting the policy lapse after a year while taking kickbacks from the sellers, Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche said.

Tyler Wilkinson, 37, of San Diego, and Ian Frisch, 31, of Bonita, were charged with four felony counts of grand theft and face sentencing enhancement allegations of causing more than $100,000 in losses, aggravated white collar crime exceeding $500,000 and property loss more than $200,000.

Co-defendants Reuben Banuelos, 63, of Aliso Viejo, Edward Putnam, 71, and wife, Maxine Putnam, 68, of San Juan Capistrano, were charged with a felony count of grand theft and face sentencing enhancement allegations for causing more than $100,000 in loss, and property loss more than $200,000.

Edward Putnam, at the time of the alleged crime, was an attorney registered with the state bar, but he was not practicing. He also was a licensed veterinarian with a clinic. His wife, Maxine, was a licensed Realtor.

Wilkinson was also an attorney registered with the state bar, but was not practicing the law, Labreche said. He was a licensed independent insurance agent. Frisch was a licensed insurance agent.

Wilkinson and Frisch, who are accused of selling the insurance, allegedly collected about $600,000 in commissions, Labreche alleged.

Wilkinson and Frisch could face up to 12 years in prison and Banuelos and the Putnams up to five years behind bars, Labreche said.

--City News Service


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