Profiteering fire fails due to termination
See the full video at https://rumble.com/v14clro-true-crime-of-insurance-fraud-video-number-72.html?mref=6zof&mrefc=2 and at https://youtu.be/7kExtQHAK14
Since I started writing these stories in 1990, I have changed the names of the parties to protect the culprits. This is an exception.
In 1981, Levon Sogomonian, a person who claimed to be a refugee from Soviet Armenia, bought a policy of a homeowner from Imperial Casualty. At the same time, he purchased a Personal Articles Floater (PAF) from Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London and insured him up to a liability limit of over $ 2 million for the loss of his house and its contents. Shortly after receiving the policies, a fire broke out that destroyed the house and its contents.
During the examination, Mr. Sogomonian’s insurer that he had lied about the insurance applications to Imperial Casualty and Lloyd’s. The Supreme Court upheld the insurers’ request for a preliminary ruling. The court confirmed that the insurance companies had canceled the insurance from the start. Mr. Sogomonian appealed, and that decision is reported as Imperial Casualty v. Sogomonian 198 Cal.App. 3d 169, 243 Kal. Rptr. 639 (1988)
The Court of Appeal, noting that the trial court failed to determine how much money Mr Sogomonian owed the insurers as a result of his fraud, sent the case back to the trial court to determine the amounts owed by Mr Sogomonian.
Judge Miriam Vogel (now Justice of the Court of Appeal) tried the case without a jury. Mr Sogomonian argued that he should not be obliged to repay any funds to the insurer. He claimed that the insurance companies acted in bad faith by losing the rubbish from the fire Sogomonian valued at $ 2,000,000.
Imperial and Lloyd’s had, in order to protect the evidence, collected all the debris from the personal property destroyed in the fire and stored it on Bekin’s Van & Storage. Sogomonian claimed that the loss of the valuable rubbish was a malicious act that should deprive the insurers of all compensation.
After hearing several days of sworn testimony, Judge Vogel drew the following conclusions:
The fire in the home in Sogomonian was a murder fire that was probably committed by or under the direction of Mr. Sogomonian.
After seeing the rubbish at Bekins Van & Storage, she concluded that nothing was missing and even if it was missing, the rubbish was useless.
Mr Sogomonian was required to reimburse Imperial and Lloyd’s for all the money they spent on making advance payments, making payments to innocent mortgagees and for legal fees and expenses incurred in the declaratory aid amounting to more than $ 500,000.
In a cross-complaint against his insurance agent, Mr Sogomonian succeeded in convincing the agent’s insurer to pay damages in exchange for the agent’s release.
However, Sogomonian was reluctant to admit his loss. He was angry and wanted revenge. He concluded that his loss of the $ 2 million he expected to make on his fraudulent insurance claim was due to investigators’ activities as Lloyd’s and Imperial, the late Leslie M. Schifrin of Schifrin, Gagnon & Dickey, in Van Nuys, California, retained . .
Sogomonian filed a lawsuit, in propria persona, in the Los Angeles Superior Court, appointing Mr. Schifrin and his company as respondents. Sogomonian claimed that Mr. Schifrin had converted, lost or stolen $ 2 million in valuable fire debris that Judge Vogel had decided was not lost and had no value. Mr Schifrin hired a lawyer to defend himself and his company from this frivolous lawsuit and, after spending more than $ 10,000 in legal fees, received a verdict in his favor.
Mr Schifrin and his representatives concluded that Mr Sogomonian should not take advantage of his wrongful activities. Mr Schifrin therefore lodged a complaint with the Supreme Court, accusing Sogomonian of intentionally prosecuting Schifrin.
At the first conciliation conference called, the settlement judge was upset. He informed Mr. Sogomonian, from the bench, that his actions in suing Mr. Schifrin was despicable and an absolute abuse of the justice system for the sole purpose of revenge. He advised Mr. Sogomonian to settle for what amount Mr. Schifrin was willing to accept. Sogomonian replied that he, not Schifrin, was the victim and that Schifrin had stolen his goods. The judge raised his hands in desperation and closed the hearing.
On June 1, 1994, after several continuations due to Sogomonian’s alleged ill health, the case was scheduled to be brought before the Van Nuys Superior Court. The day before the trial, a check arrived at the agent’s desk on the amount of Mr Schifrin’s claim. The trial did not go ahead. Mr. Schifrin, after receiving three death threats and thirteen years of false and frivolous activities by Mr. Sogomonian, received a small amount of justice.
The lawyer who advised Sogomonian to file the original lawsuit failed to stand trial because he was in jail for exchanging shots with a person who owed him legal fees.
It took 15 years but some justice was done to a person who was involved in a fraud.
It is important when faced with a plan for arson and insurance fraud, it is important that the insurers who have sufficient evidence to prove the fraud insist on resolving the inevitable evil faith process from the arsonist to the highest courts in the country. Mr. Sogomonian was persistent but ultimately failed completely and was obliged to pay damages to the insurance companies. The state of California even refused to consider prosecution.
(c) 2022 Barry Zalma & ClaimSchool, Inc.
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his internship to the position of insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as a lawyer for insurance coverage and claims management and more than 54 years in the insurance industry. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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