California Man Charged with Insurance Fraud after 2018 Wildfire

Payout scheme after Carr Fire



SHASTA, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California man allegedly schemed to get an unearned $43,000 insurance payout after a wildfire destroyed his home and vehicles, even though he was going to receive more than $1 million for his properly insured property, officials said Wednesday.

Stephen Cortopassi, 64, faces nine felony counts of insurance fraud, the state Department of Insurance said. It wasn’t immediately known if he has an attorney.

Cortopassi lost his home and four vehicles when the Carr Fire ripped through Redding on July 27, 2018.

The next day, Cortopassi purchased a new policy on one of the vehicles, even though it had been destroyed in the fire, according to a news release. He also added comprehensive coverage to the three other destroyed vehicles, which previously had only liability coverage, the release said. These new policies took effect July 29, two days after his property was destroyed.

The four vehicles were estimated to have a total value of $43,060.

When Cortopassi filed a claim, he stated the vehicles were destroyed August 9, 2018, two weeks after the actual loss, the release said.

The Shasta County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case. Cortopassi is scheduled to appear in court March 2.

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