For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
TWO INSURANCE AGENTS AND THREE OTHERS TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR FALSIFYING LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES AND DEFRAUDING $600,000 FROM INSURANCE COMPANIES
*OCDA seeking potential additional victims
SANTA ANA – Two insurance agents and three others will be arraigned today on charges of falsifying life insurance policies and defrauding $600,000 from insurance companies. Tyler Wilkinson, 37, San Diego, and Ian Frisch, 31, Bonita, are charged with four felony counts of grand theft with sentencing enhancement allegations for causing over $100,000 in loss, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, and property loss over $200,000. Reuben Banuelos, 63, Aliso Viejo, Edward Putnam, 71, and wife Maxine Putnam, 68, San Juan Capistrano, are charged with one felony count of grand theft with sentencing enhancement allegations for causing over $100,000 in loss, property loss over $200,000. If convicted on all counts, Wilkinson and Frisch face 12 years in state prison and Banuelos and the Putnams face five years in state prison. The People will request that bail for Wilkinson and Frisch be set at $600,000 each, Banuelos be set at $180,000, Edward Putnam be set at $200,000, and Maxine Putnam be set at $170,000. The defendants must prove that the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. They are scheduled to be arraigned this morning, July 3, 2014, in Department C-57, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
At the time of the crime, Edward Putnam was an inactive member of the California State Bar and a licensed veterinarian who ran a clinic, Maxine Putnam was a licensed realtor, Wilkinson was an inactive member of the California State Bar and a licensed independent insurance agent, and Frisch was a licensed insurance agent working for an insurance carrier.
Between Aug. 2, 2010, and Nov. 15, 2010, Wilkinson and Frisch are accused of submitting falsified insurance policy applications on behalf of Banuelos and the Putnams, who are accused of knowingly making false statements on the application. Wilkinson and Frisch are accused of offering the other three defendants free insurance with no out-of-pocket loss by having them pay a first-time premium and getting reimbursed for the total amount paid for a full year of coverage. Banuelos and the Putnams are accused of not declaring in the applications that they were reimbursed for the premium and letting the life insurance policy lapse after one year and not making further payments. Wilkinson and Frisch are accused of profiting from the policies by collecting commissions over $600,000.
On June 6, 2014, after a lengthy investigation by the California Department of Insurance, the five defendants were arrested.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Andy Terhorst at (714) 347-8691.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.