Action News investigation leads to insurance sanctions

January 10, 2013 12:33:41 AM PST
We have an update now to an Action News investigation from a little more than a year ago -- some allegedly deceptive practices in insurance sales, mostly to older Valley residents.

The state insurance commissioner followed up on our stories about Brawley Insurance Services and took steps to stop the company and its owners.

The company's owner, Hussein Ali, had already had his license revoked by the time ABC30 talked to him in October 2011. But investigators determined he was still operating under his wife's license and they say the deception only got worse.

Hussein Ali didn't want to talk to Action News in 2011 as we investigated whether he was illegally operating.

Complaints about Medicare advantage sales methods led to sanctions preventing Brawley Insurance Services from selling Medicare policies.

Former employees say they weren't getting paid, and Ali should've been out of business.

"Jail, prison, whatever it takes," said former employee Sarah Fradue, who says Ali still owes her about $7500. "He should've been gone a long time ago."

But he wasn't.

Ali had already lost his insurance license for being a convicted felon, and investigators say he piggybacked on his wife's license to continue operating.

Landlords booted the business a short time later, but investigators believe Ali's unscrupulous activities continued.

"There have been repeated efforts on the parts of the Alis to violate the law," said California insurance commissioner Dave Jones, who picked up where Action News left off.

State investigators found the Alis opened a new business called Golden Umbrella. Its offices were in a northwest Fresno office complex and its owner was supposedly a former employee at Brawley. But the former employee says he never opened the business and only used the offices because Hussein Ali offered him free rent.

Investigators determined Hussein Ali had fraudulently used the employee's personal information to create Golden Umbrella.

The state investigation could lead to new criminal charges against both Alis and the commissioner says it should end their bad business practices.

"Both their names are flagged in our system," Jones said. "I don't think they're going to have the opportunity to do that sort of thing again."

We tried to track down the Alis, but neighbors say they moved about a month ago. But Jones warns people like them are still around, and seniors better beware.

The state has set up a consumer hotline for anyone who wants to report questionable practices or just to ask insurance questions.

You can call (800) 927-4357 or go online to insurance.ca.gov.

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