Petaluma Man Sentenced for Stolen Car Insurance Scheme
(BayAreaNewsTalk.com) – A Petaluma man was sentenced to 150 days in jail for filing a fraudulent stolen vehicle insurance claim last year, officials with the California Department of Insurance said Friday.
Constantine Petros, 54, of Petaluma and Christopher Hatton, 60, of Tahoma, were charged with felony insurance fraud and conspiracy.
Petros had bought and sold a classic 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster years ago, state insurance officials said. He then provided a different Porsche to Hatton who used the classic Porsche’s vehicle identification number to have the less valuable Porsche appraised at $250,000, according to state insurance officials.
Hatton used that appraisal to get an insurance policy for the Porsche, then reported it was stolen on Sept. 4 in Nevada while he attended an annual rib cook-off, according to the California Department of Insurance.
Farmers Insurance referred the suspicious stolen vehicle claim to the Department of Insurance Fraud Division.
Insurance investigators learned about the conspiracy connection between Petros and Hatton and determined Hatton never owned a classic Porsche and that it was never stolen.
Petros was arrested on Oct. 19 in Sonoma County and Hatton surrendered in Placer County Superior Court on Nov. 14.
In addition to 150 days in jail, Petros was sentenced to five years of probation for one felony count of insurance fraud.
Hatton was convicted of one felony count of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and sentenced to 75 hours of community service, five years of probation and ordered to attend an ethics course.
Both men also were ordered to jointly pay restitution, insurance officials said.