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María Teresa and Miguel with their daughter, outside their restaurant. ñito salas
Rincón restaurant owners were paying 50 insurance policies due to alleged fraud

Rincón restaurant owners were paying 50 insurance policies due to alleged fraud

The couple discovered during the coronavirus lockdown that nearly 40,000 euros had disappeared from their bank account without them realising

Juan Cano

Tuesday, 11 October 2022, 13:53

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They ran a busy restaurant so their bank account always showed a lot of movements, and that is why the owners of El Deo in Rincón de la Victoria on the eastern Costa del Sol did not notice that they had become victims of a fraud allegedly perpetrated by their insurance agent.

It was during the pandemic that they finally realised. During the lockdown there was less activity on the bank account and their balance suddenly went into the red. “We had to apply for a loan because we had no money to live on,” Miguel Galo told SUR.

The family says their insurance agent, a man they had trusted absolutely for years, had taken out about 50 policies without their consent and given their bank account details for payment.

“Between the two of us, we had apparently taken out 40 funeral policies,” said Miguel’s wife, María Teresa Zaragoza. They contacted the police over a fraud which they calculate had cost them 34,860.38 euros. The policies were in other people’s names, including those of the insurance agent and his wife.

“When we realised that the money had gone I told my sister and she went through our bank details,” said María Teresa, “and she found receipts for insurance policies for three houses on the beach, a villa, a boat, a car...”.

“We trusted him completely. We had used him since 2011 and we couldn't believe it because we considered him a friend, but we have even been paying for his car insurance and that of his wife as well,” she said.

They believe the insurance company, Generali Seguros, should have noticed that something was wrong, but a lawyer acting on behalf of the company said it had also been affected because it has a network of trusted agents and had also been defrauded by this one.

Once the company was alerted to the fraud, it carried out detailed checks. There is a discrepancy over the amount the clients had lost - Generali calculates the amount to be about 12,000 euros and has deposited that amount with the court for possible settlement in the legal case.

A double fraud

However, the police are also investigating and say they discovered that the agent had another scheme as well, whereby if a client’s payment was returned by their own bank, he would give Miguel and María Teresa’s bank details for payment instead.

The manager of the insurance company is reported to have told the police that when he learned of the fraud and rang the agent to demand an explanation, he said he took full responsibility for everything and blamed his wife, who dealt with the financial side of his business.

The agent and his wife have been detained for suspected fraud. They declined to make a statement to the police and were released to await trial.

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