By John Crowder
Anthony Segovia, a 27-year-old, self-described financial analyst and small business owner, and a candidate for the Antioch city council, has admitted to a criminal record that includes two felony convictions for insurance fraud, as well as grand theft.
In an interview conducted by the Herald, Segovia claimed these charges have now been dropped down to misdemeanors after payment of restitution. He said he was currently on probation for these offenses.
According to Segovia, the felony charges stem from a car accident that took place in 2010. Segovia said he was one of five people in one of the two cars involved. He said that, after the accident, he and the others in the car he was riding in filed insurance claims for injuries sustained. While his own claim, he said, was legitimate, others made claims that were not. Segovia says that the two insurance companies that were defrauded paid about $92,000, altogether, to the five people involved. He claims to have personally received payments of about $1,500.
Segovia said that his involvement in the scheme included his pretending to be two of the other people who had been in the accident, speaking over the phone with and emailing the insurers on their behalf. He said he knew all of the other four participants, and that one of them was an uncle.
Segovia said that the main reason that he got in trouble was that he knew about the inflated claims made by others in the group, but refused to cooperate with the CA Department of Insurance investigators who were looking into the matter.
“I didn’t want to rat out a family member,” he said.
After being charged with insurance fraud, he says he determined to start cooperating with the investigators, and it was this decision, along with an agreement to make restitution to the insurance company, that eventually resulted in the charges being lowered to misdemeanors and a reduced jail sentence. Segovia pleaded ‘no contest’ to the two felony charges in 2012. He also said that he paid close to $90,000 in restitution, while one of the other participants paid between $10,000 and $15,000.
The grand theft conviction was for a real estate transaction involving another relative who lost $22,000 in the deal, for which Segovia said he was paid $400. He says he had a financial license, which allowed him to handle home loans, but not a real estate license, which was required.
For his crimes, Segovia says he was sentenced to nine months in jail, but actually spent only 30 days at a Marsh Creek facility, then spent another 45 days with an ankle monitor. This sentence reduction, he said, was approved by the judge in the case, after evaluating all of the circumstances.
Segovia’s version of the case, however, is disputed on almost every point by Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Brian Hast.
According to Hast, Segovia was the instigator of the fraudulent actions, not just someone helping out or covering up for his family. Hast also said that Segovia, still on probation, hadn’t yet paid the bulk of the restitution ordered. He said that the last time Segovia was in court was January, 2013, and that he would be on probation until October, 2017. Hast also said that the charges had not yet been reduced to misdemeanors, and that any such reduction would not happen until full restitution was paid.
Hast related a very different version of the events leading up to the fraud charges. Hast said that Segovia would submit an initial claim to an insurance company, with no proof, and if he was challenged, he would then drop the claim. Some insurance firms paid the claims without question.
According to Hast, he and an investigator from the CA Department of Insurance sat down with Segovia and confronted him with evidence of his crimes. Segovia was cooperative during the meeting, admitted his crimes, and spoke freely about the others involved. Because he was cooperating, Hast said, he told Segovia that he would request jail time of only six months, as long as he didn’t commit any more crimes prior to the trial, and withdrew any fraudulent claims he might still have open. “Then we find out he filed another claim,” said Hast, “and that is why the jail time went from six to nine months.”
Hast said that the total amount of restitution ordered was $118,236.99, and this was the amount Segovia was ordered to pay. According to Hast, the last time Segovia made a payment toward restitution was in November, 2013, when he sent in $250. Segovia had brought in other people on two different claims, and they were also ordered to pay restitution.
Segovia continues to campaign for the Antioch city council, in spite of the revelations about his criminal past. He said that, regardless of this history, he feels that he can still make a positive contribution to Antioch.
“I know a crime was committed,” he said, “I think moving forward, given that I’m so young, I don’t want one mistake in my past to affect my future. I want to be an example to people that, even though I made a mistake, I can still move forward, be a positive influence on society, and contribute to my city.”
In response to his past becoming public, Segovia posted the following on his campaign’s Facebook page on October 5:
“As many of the people are aware now, yes I do have a past that I am not proud of. Nobody is perfect, including the people judging me. Feeling I did the right at the time, there is no excuse to justify my choices. When one is running for public office of any kind, he/she should be a leader which he/she is seeking office for. As of now I have failed to do that. However what I haven’t failed to do is admit to my mistakes, took responsibility for my actions and moved on. There are many people with a past, they are just not trying to be a part of saving a crime stricken city. Before making a choice to run for Antioch City Council, I knew this was coming, now I have to face the comments and people passing judgment. Regardless of my past, there is a city that needs work and this is my main goal is getting Antioch back on track, getting it back to the city people loved to call hone. Many of you are probably wondering why i have no chosen to withdraw my candidacy, but let me tell you this will only make it stronger and makes me strive to change this great city. As for As the people who stuck by my side and continue to I want to thank you for your love and undying support you have shown me. NOW ITS TINE TO MOVE PAST THIS MINOR SETBACK AND GET TO WORK! ANTHONY SEGOVIA FOR ANTIOCH CITY COUNCIL.”
Segovia is the youngest of eight candidates running for the two seats up for election, on November 4. Also running are appointed incumbent Tony Tiscareno, who Segovia says is his cousin, but Tiscarano stated he only met Segovia at a candidates interview during the campaign and that he has 200 relatives in the area; Antioch School Board Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray, Lamar Thorpe, Lori Ogorchock, Karl Dietzel, Jeffrey Hall-Cottrell and Steven Bado.
Publisher Allen Payton contributed to this article.