Insurance agent, public adjuster, auto repair shop owner

Insurance agent pleads guilty to malpractice

The CEO of a Taunton, Mass., insurance agency pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges in a scheme that stole $295,278 from local businesses, Attorney General Maura Healy’s office said Friday.

David G. Pietro, 67, of Sandwich and his company, DPG-Miles Insurance Agency, pleaded guilty to five counts of theft by embezzlement in Bristol Superior Court. Judge Daniel O’Shea sentenced Pietro to two years of probation, ordered him to perform 100 hours of community service and pay restitution to the victims. The amount has not yet been determined.

O’Shea also ordered Pietro to surrender his insurance license, effectively barring his company from continuing to operate, the attorney general’s office said.

Prosecutors say Pietro collected premiums but failed to remit the payments to insurers, leaving customers without coverage. Most of the five victims were small businesses, the office said.

The embezzlement scheme resulted in the cancellation of commercial insurance policies of several client companies.

LDI removes the public regulator

The Louisiana Department of Insurance has suspended the license of a New Orleans public adjuster accused of fraudulently clearing checks from insurance companies and withholding the money.

LDI’s Office of Insurance Fraud and Enforcement on July 22 issued a cease and desist order to Cade Austin Mitchell and his company, Mitchell Adjusting International.

The insurance department said in a news release that Mitchell fraudulently endorsed checks totaling $150,000 from an insurance company and failed to wire the funds to the insured. In another case, Mitchell withheld payment of an insurance claim in the amount of $117,441.43 from a policyholder, the office said.

“Louisiana policyholders have great confidence in the public adjusters they hire to handle their claims after a loss, and they deserve that confidence to be respected,” said Insurance Commissioner Jim Donnellon. “Such behavior will not be tolerated in the Louisiana insurance market.”

The department said Mitchell was licensed in Louisiana as a public adjuster on Dec. 10, 2020. The company’s website says it is based in New Orleans and has an office in Clear Lake Shores, Texas.

Auto repair shop owner guilty of second comp fraud

The owner of a Kennewick, Wash., auto repair shop has pleaded guilty to a felony after failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance for the second time.

The state Department of Labor and Industries said Rodney Eugene Dietrich, 47, was sentenced to 30 days of electronic home monitoring by Benton-Franklin Superior Court Judge Norma Rodriguez.

The department said Dietrich employed two men at his shop, Rod’s Cars, from November 2017 to May 2019. He did not carry workers’ compensation insurance as required by state law, the department said.

One employee received cash and another traded his labor for auto parts and other items, investigators said.

The department said Dietrich pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for the same offense in October 2016. He was charged again with a misdemeanor after two L&I investigators noticed employees working at the store, which at the time was unoccupied insured.

Dietrich opened the store in 2004 but changed its name, business structure and license three times after falling behind on workers’ compensation premium payments, the department said. He owes more than $40,000 in overdue premiums, interest and penalties. Dietrich also owes more than $2,200 in wages and penalties for failing to pay an employee in 2013, the department said.

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