Poizner's Cousin Arrested for Fraud, Embezzlement

Investigators with the Los Angeles District Attorney's Insurance Fraud Bureau of Investigation arrested Paul Daniel Poizner, 45, at his Ventura County, Calif. home on Jan. 21, 2010 in connection with an auto claim fraud scheme.

Los Angeles County, Calif. prosecutors have charged the California Casualty Management (CCM) insurance adjuster with 60 counts of embezzlement and auto insurance fraud, The Los Angeles Times reports. Poizner, a second cousin of Steve Poizner, California Insurance Commissioner and Republican gubernatorial candidate, allegedly submitted checks for auto claims that exceeded the amount of repairs and then pocketed the difference.

The plot thickened when CCM audited auto damage claims submitted between May 2008 and February 2009, according to the criminal complaint filed by L.A. County prosecutors. CCM then contacted the offices of the prosecutor and the insurance commissioner in March.

A spokesman for Steve Poizner's office said the insurance commissioner immediately recused himself from the investigation. Commissioner Poizner has garnered various accolades for his strong anti-fraud stance. Most recently, he received a fraud-fighting award from the Employers' Fraud Task Force, a state-based organization composed of insurance industry experts and law enforcement officials committed to combating workers' compensation fraud and abuse.

Commissioner Poizner oversees 16 CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Approximately 2,000 insurance fraud-related arrests have been made by the Department of Insurance's enforcement division since he assumed office in 2007 -- more arrests than in any other two year period, under any previous insurance commissioner.

Paul Poizner is being held on $294,000 bail, just shy of the $300,000 he is accused of collecting from the scheme. He will return to court on Feb. 5th for a preliminary hearing.

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