HUSBAND AND WIFE ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH CALIFORNIA'S LARGEST PREMIUM INSURANCE FRAUD SCAM FOR COMMITTING $38 MILLION IN FRAUD AND SPENDING HIDDEN INCOME ON LAVISH LIFESTYLE
*Over $500,000 in jewelry recovered along with application for "Real Housewives of Orange County"
SANTA ANA - A husband and wife accused of living a lavish lifestyle of high-end cars, vacations, and shopping which was financed by committing more than $38 million in premium insurance fraud were arrested yesterday. This is the largest known Workers' Compensation Insurance fraud case in California's history. This case was investigated by the Orange County District Attorney's Office (OCDA) and the Orange County Premium Fraud Task Force, a collaboration of investigators from the OCDA, Department of Insurance (DOI), California Employment Development Department (EDD), Franchise Tax Board, and Contractors State License Board.
Michael Vincent Petronella, also known as Michael Constantine, 50, and his wife Devon Lynn Kile, 44, both of Laguna Hills, are charged with 106 felony counts including conspiracy to commit a crime, grand theft, insurance fraud, filing a false tax return, willfully failing to file or filing fraudulent tax returns, misrepresenting facts to State Compensation Insurance Fund, making fraudulent statements, making false statements to discourage an injured worker from claiming benefits, misrepresenting facts to workers' compensation insurance company, and failing to file a return with the intent to evade tax. The defendants both face sentencing enhancements and allegations for aggravated white collar crime over $2.5 million, $500,000, and $100,000. If convicted on all counts, the defendants each face a sentence ranging from five years and four months up to 102 years in state prison. Petronella and Kile are being held on $10 million bail each and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond.
Following a 2-year investigation by the OCDA with assistance from several agencies (listed above), Petronella and Kile were arrested at approximately 7:00 a.m. yesterday, April 29, 2009, at their Laguna Hills home. A search of six locations including two residences, two businesses, a storage unit and a Certified Public Accountant's office turned up more than $500,000 in jewelry, $51,000 cash, and an application from Kile to be featured on the Bravo series Real Housewives of Orange County.
The couple, who live in Laguna Hills, own five properties in California and Texas, and multiple luxury vehicles including a Bentley, two Ferraris, and a Range Rover. Between 2005 and 2007, Petronella and Kile are accused of claiming less than $290,000 of income on their tax returns, but spending more than $2.1 million on their American Express credit card for personal items. They are accused of spending thousands of dollars on jewelry, shoes, clothes, and other personal items at stores including Balenciaga, Bloomingdale's, Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Kitson, Neiman-Marcus, Nordstrom, Yves Saint Laurent, and others.