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Virginia Insurance Agent Sentenced for Writing Policies Without Clients’ Consent

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A Virginia insurance and annuities agent was sentenced to one year and three months years in prison for mail fraud after swindling his employer and clients in multiple schemes.

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According to court documents, from August 2017 through March 2020, Joseph O’Carroll III, of North Chesterfield, scammed his employer for commissions and incentives by writing insurance policies for individuals without their consent or knowledge.

O’Carroll pled guilty in January. He was sentenced on May 20 by U.S. District Judge David J. Novak.

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According to prosecutors, O’Carroll used the personal identifying information (PII) of clients, including their names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and bank account numbers, to apply for fraudulent life insurance policies in their names and forged their signatures on the applications. He created email addresses purportedly belonging to his clients, which he then listed on the insurance applications to use in communicating with the insurance companies.

For one client, O’Carroll listed his own BB&T checking account from which the issuing insurance company was to automatically withdraw the premiums on applications for the policies. For other clients, O’Carroll listed the clients’ bank accounts.

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When the policies were issued, the insurers began withdrawing and attempting to withdraw premium payments from the listed bank accounts. While attempts to withdraw payments from O’Carroll’s bank account were unsuccessful, resulting in the cancellation of those policies, premiums were withdrawn from other client accounts, resulting in thousands of dollars being taken from them.

On at least one policy, O’Carroll listed himself as the beneficiary.

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During an Aug. 4, 2020, interview with the Virginia Bureau of Insurance, O’Carroll admitted that the client was “out of it” at the time due to the death of the client’s wife, and ultimately admitted that he wrote that policy and others to assist himself in winning a 2019 incentive trip to the Riviera Maya in Mexico from his employer.

In addition to applying for fraudulent life insurance policies in that client’s name, O’Carroll obtained more than $57,000 of the balance of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) account belonging to the client with the promise to reinvest the funds in another qualified retirement account. But he used the funds for his own personal expenses without the client’s knowledge.

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Source: U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

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Virginia

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