An Irvine-based public insurance claims adjuster who pocketed more than $1.2 million in payouts meant for fire victims was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison.
Jose Villa, 62, of San Clemente — who is already serving seven years in prison on another fraud case — was sentenced immediately after pleading no contest to eight felony counts of diverting construction funds and admitting allegations of excessive taking of property and aggravated white-collar crime.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor also ordered restitution to the victims of more than $1.2 million.
Villa was a licensed public adjuster who owned and operated Statewide Claims Advisors Inc. The victims owned a commercial building in Whittier and a residential rental property in Los Angeles and hired Villa to serve as their public adjuster and help settle their claims after their properties were damaged in fires in 2013.
Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Stodel said Villa deposited the victims’ insurance reimbursement checks into his business checking account. Instead of handling demolition and construction costs at the properties, he kept most of the money, the prosecutor said.
The adjuster was convicted last May of two felony counts each of grand theft by embezzlement and forgery for taking insurance proceeds from other fire victims. Based on the terms of his negotiated plea, the 10-year sentence will run concurrent with the seven years he is serving on the earlier case.
The California Department of Insurance revoked Villa’s license to serve as a public adjuster and permanently barred him from applying for or holding any license it issues.
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