Santa Maria insurance agent charged in bilking customers

A former Santa Maria insurance agent is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday on nine felony charges including embezzlement, identity theft and grand theft after allegedly stealing from clients, the state insurance commissioner said.

Melissa Grimmesey, 42, was a licensed insurance agent working as a customer service representative at an unnamed agency in Santa Maria, according to a state Department of Insurance news release.

Grimmesey allegedly stole premiums paid in cash by policyholders and then used other customers’ credit cards to pay the stolen premiums, the release said. She allegedly recorded the cash payments in the computer system and then deleted them later to avoid being caught.

She is charged with one count of grand theft, one count of embezzlement, one count of theaft of funds by a fiduciary, five counts of identity theft and one count of unauthorized access to a computer system. She will be arraigned in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria.