Cell phone store owner defrauds insurer of $700,000 in claims scheme

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The owner of a California cellular telephone retailer was sentenced to three years and four months in state prison for his involvement in more than 2,000 fraudulent insurance claims, costing more than $700,000.

The California Insurance Department said Andy Jungsik Kim, 37, of Studio City, Calif., who ows Skyland Cellular, will serve the sentence for grand theft, multiple counts of identity theft and for possession of a forged driver’s license. Kim pleaded guilty and must pay restitution.

In October 2009, Asurion Insurance Services, a nationwide insurance company specializing in insuring cell phones, reported to the CDI fraud division what they suspected was cell phone insurance fraud activity involving Skyland Cellular, the cell phone retailer with two cell phone stores in Los Angeles.

Asurion suspected that beginning in September 2009, the ongoing fraudulent insurance claims activity began.

Investigators say Kim over a period of time starting in March 2008 submitted multiple false and fraudulent claims to Asurion to obtain replacement cell phones for resale at a substantially lower cost. Kim accomplished used information from cell phone accounts of customers of his two cell phone stores to make these claims.

He provided Asurion with addresses for the shipping of the replacement cell phones that were private mailboxes he had rented using a fake California identification card in another name. Asurion unwittingly shipped replacement cell phones pursuant to the fraudulent claims to the addresses that Kim controlled. The investigation uncovered more than $1 million in losses to Asurion from fraudulent claims.

A co-defendant, Chong Han Kim, who worked in one of the Skyland Cellular stores, and co-defendants Yong Koo Kim, Chong Sok Son and Jun Choi allegedly conspired with Andy Kim and participated in the fraud, authorities said. Four of the defendants were arrested in August 2011. Jun Choi remains at large and is a fugitive.

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