In our latest roundup of agents caught on the wrong side of the law, we take a look at 3 recent cases involving insurance agents who submitted phony applications, thinking they could profit from commissions and – in one of the cases – their friends or relatives could collect death benefits as beneficiaries.
Surprise, surprise: It’s not working out quite as they had planned…
Georgia CPA arrested for insurance fraud
An accountant in the Atlanta area was arrested Nov. 15 by Special Fraud Investigators from the Georgia Department of Insurance and charged with 19 counts of insurance fraud, 11 counts of identity fraud and one count of theft by deception.
Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens announced that Earle Turner, Sr., 67, a CPA from McDonough, Ga., is accused of falsifying multiple life insurance applications and collecting more than $11,000 in death benefits.
“Apprehending this suspect is a victory for all Georgia insurance consumers,” Hudgens said “Insurance fraud results in higher costs for us all.”
According to the investigation, in May 2017, the Georgia Department of Insurance was notified by Mutual of Omaha of suspected fraudulent activity by Turner. Mutual of Omaha indicated that they discovered three life insurance policies in their system with Turner named as the beneficiary. The insurer contacted the individuals listed as the policyholder, and each stated they had not applied for life insurance through the company and had not authorized Turner to do so on their behalf.
Following a six‐month investigation, GADOI Special Fraud Investigators found that Turner had taken out life insurance policies on 19 elderly adults without their knowledge or approval and received approximately $11,345.70 in death benefit payouts on five of the policies. Investigators also determined that Turner used the personal information he obtained from preparing his victim’s taxes to file the fraudulent policies. If convicted, Turner could face up to 10 years in state prison.
“We have found no evidence that this suspect has an insurable interest in any of these individuals,” said Deputy Insurance Commissioner Jay Florence. “Fortunately our investigators stopped this scheme before more policies were submitted without the consumer’s knowledge.”
The investigation was conducted with assistance from Mutual of Omaha’s Corporate Investigation Unit. The case will be prosecuted by the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office.
Two agents, accomplices accused of life insurance scheme in Louisiana
Four women (including two insurance agents) in Louisiana were also arrested recently, also accused of obtaining life insurance policies on people without their approval or knowledge.
A Nov. 1 story posted on WAFB.com says court documents show Cleopatra Dunn, 43, of Gonzales; Derroclecia Dunn, 25, an insurance agent, of Clinton; Jyhmecia Dunn, 23, also of Clinton; and and Sheletha Henderson, 49, also an insurance agent, of Baton Rouge; are facing multiple felonies.
Per the story, Louisiana State Police reported that its insurance fraud unit was contacted in August by a detective with the Baton Rouge Police Department and a compliance investigator with the Louisiana Department of Insurance to look into a possible scheme in which insurance policies were being obtained on people without their approval or knowledge.
According to an arrest warrant, there was a case of a man who had discussed with Derroclecia Dunn about getting a life insurance policy but never completed the application process. The warrant stated the man later learned a policy was filed in his name and listed Cleopatra Dunn, Derroclecia Dunn’s mother, as the beneficiary.
Troopers stated there was a life insurance policy obtained on a man in which Henderson was the agent, while Cleopatra Dunn and Jyhmecia Dunn are listed as relatives and beneficiaries of the person named on the policy. They added the application stated the man had no medical issues. However, according to an arrest warrant, the man was not in good health at the time the policy would have been taken out and died after a lengthy illness.
The warrant stated Cleopatra Dunn and Jyhmecia Dunn made claims on the policy, but those were denied by the insurance company. The warrant added one of the man’s actual family members told investigators the job description and address were wrong on the policy. According to authorities, the family member also said Cleopatra Dunn and Jyhmecia Dunn are not related to the man.
According to jail records, Cleopatra Dunn and Jyhmecia Dunn were each booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on identity theft (3 counts), forgery (3 counts), and insurance fraud (3 counts). The jail reported they were released after posting the $18,000 bond each.
Jail records show Derroclecia Dunn is charged with identity theft (2 counts), forgery (2 counts), and insurance fraud (2 counts). According to the jail, she was released after posting a $12,000 bond.
Documents state Henderson is charged with one count each of identity theft, forgery, and insurance fraud. The records indicate she was released after posting a $10,000 bond.
All of the charges are felonies. The investigation is ongoing.
76 phony apps net fraud charges for agent
A 25-year-old insurance agent from Clarks Summit, Pa., submitted 76 phony applications for medical and life insurance policies, detectives from the Northeastern Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Task Forge said.
According to an article on the Scranton, Pa., Times-Tribune, Chelsea Howe turned herself in for arraignment Oct. 24 on charges of insurance fraud, identity theft, forgery, criminal use of a communication facility and theft, according to the task force.
As an agent for Americo, Medico, Bankers Life and Casualty, Howe submitted dozens of policy applications without the knowledge or consent of the people named on the paperwork, police said. The crimes were committed between June of 2016 and January.
Detectives said Howe had access to victims’ bank information and used the information to pay $2,300 in her personal bills.
The various insurance companies noticed Howe submitted a higher number of applications and received commissions totaling more than $7,000. They became suspicious once they noticed that the premiums on the policies were not being paid and launched investigations.
How was released on $95,000 unsecured bail, with a preliminary hearing set for early November.
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