A Pennsylvania insurance agent has been charged in federal court with several white collar crimes after insurance companies complained that the woman circumvented their policies regarding older applicants. Prosecutors allege that the agent misled the providers about a client's age and financial situation in order to collect larger commissions from selling insurance to the client.
According to a federal indictment issued in February, the accused agent was working as the branch manager of a Peoria insurance agency in 2008. During that time, she sold three annuity policies and a life insurance policy to an 87-year-old client. The provider who issued the policies required applicants over age 85 to have a third party sign the application. The government alleges that the agent lied about the client's age on the application to avoid having to obtain a third-party signature.
Later that same year, the defendant went to work as an agent for Pennsylvania Life Insurance Company. While there, she sold at least one more policy to the same client. The provider of that policy requires older applicants to have a questionnaire about their finances signed by an official who is knowledgeable about their financial situation.
According to the indictment, the defendant had a CPA who was not familiar with the client's finances sign the questionnaire. The application was approved and the client's insurance was transferred to the new provider, and the agent received a $17,000 commission, prosecutors say.
The defendant is charged with four counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
As usual, we like to remind our readers that an indictment is not the same as a conviction. It merely shows the government's version of events. If the case goes to trial, the defendant and her attorney will likely counter that version with their own evidence.
Source: The Galesburg Register-Mail, "Galesburg woman indicted on federal fraud charges," Ariel Cheung, March 25, 2013
· To learn more about federal charges, please visit our Pittsburgh federal charges page.