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Man Gets 87 Months for Quake-Related Fraud

July 02, 2002|DAVID ROSENZWEIG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A San Jose businessman whose company provided engineering services to Allstate Insurance Co. after the Northridge earthquake was sentenced Monday to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.17 million restitution for four fraud schemes stemming from the 1994 disaster.

LeAndre Drake Davis, 38, has been in custody since a Los Angeles federal jury convicted him on 26 criminal counts in September 2000. He will receive credit for time already served.

Davis was found guilty of preparing false and misleading engineering reports that Allstate used to settle claims with scores of homeowners.

In some cases, damaged houses were never inspected by a licensed engineer. Davis also was found to have falsely represented himself as a licensed architect.

The jury also heard testimony from a South Los Angeles woman who hired Davis' Shadowbrook Design Group to repair her home. After taking $10,000 from her, Davis demolished the house and then abandoned the project when the woman refused to pay more.

He also was found guilty of padding and falsifying his bills to Allstate and of defaulting on payments to subcontractors.

In the fourth scheme, Davis was convicted of defrauding Pine Cobble Funding Corp., a Los Angeles company that specialized in factoring accounts receivables. Davis sold Pine Cobble more than $100,000 worth of receivables for work he claimed that he was doing for Farmers Insurance Group and State Farm Insurance. Most of those receivables were imaginary. The fraud contributed to Pine Cobble's demise in 1998.

Davis apologized to U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder, but said he was working under extreme stress after the quake.

He said he has tried to redeem himself by voluntarily testifying on behalf of homeowners who sued Allstate over their earthquake settlements.

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