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Life Health > Health Insurance > Your Practice

Insurance Officials To Auction Frankel Jewels

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Jewelry recovered in connection with a notorious 8-year-old insurance fraud case will be sold on EBay.

The jewelry was owned by Martin Frankel, who was sentenced in 2002 to almost 17 years in federal prison for embezzling funds from 7 insurance companies he once controlled. The jewelry is being sold as part of court-ordered liquidation proceedings.

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale, who announced the sale, says the auction will include jewels from his department as well as jewels from insurance regulators in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Frankel disappeared in May 1999 after insurance officials in five states asked his insurance companies to explain why more than $200 million in assets was missing from the companies. The firms mostly sold funeral policies to low-income people through a holding company owned by Frankel.

Posing as an investment broker, Frankel, of Greenwich, Conn., had funneled the insurers’ funds to a bank account in Switzerland and then used the money to support a lavish lifestyle, according to prosecutors. Authorities also brought charges against 15 co-conspirators

The auction, which will run on EBay until Oct. 29, seeks to sell four pieces of jewelry bought with some of the stolen funds and recovered from a Frankel co-conspirator.

The commissioners in the five states, acting as receivers for the seven insurers, also recovered more than 570 diamonds that were in Frankel’s possession when he was arrested in Germany. Those diamonds were auctioned off in New York in 2004 and raised about $9 million, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in New Haven.

In addition to real property recovered in Tennessee and Alabama, the receivers also worked with federal officials to recover additional assets in the United States, Switzerland and other foreign countries.

The items being sold on EBay include a diamond necklace from Tiffany & Company, appraised at $7,500; a pair of diamond earrings from Tiffany, appraised at $4,600; a lady’s ring containing a sapphire flanked by diamonds, also from Tiffany and appraised at $8,000; and a yellow gold Cartier ladies’ watch with 33 round brilliant cut diamonds, appraised at $4,000.

Other assets belonging to Frankel already auctioned off include 21 luxury sedans and SUVs and a Harley Davidson motorcycle, which sold for a total of $757,000.

The sale of Frankel’s two mansions in Greenwich, Conn., raised another $5.2 million, according to the IRS.


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