Photo credit: <a href = "http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=659">Salvatore Vuono</a>

A California life agent has been sentenced to 180 days in county jail and five years of supervised probation in connection with theft from a senior. The agent reportedly sold an 80-year-old client seven annuity policies over a three-year period, with deposits totaling more than $1.5 million. According to regulators, the agent never fully disclosed the terms of the annuities and didn’t make sure the client knew what she purchased. The agent earned nearly $90,000 in commissions from those transactions. In addition, the agent formed a California non-profit corporation in the name of the victim without the person’s knowledge. He then had the victim sign documents to change the beneficiary and ownership of all the annuities to the foundation, again without her knowledge. The agent then cashed out three of the annuities, triggering surrender charges and income tax liabilities, before depositing the money in the foundation’s bank account and withdrawing it later for personal gain.

 A former Hawaiian insurance agent has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing more than $360,000 from two clients. According to state regulators, the agent falsely informed the life insurance company that her clients’ home had been destroyed in a fire. She directed the company to send cash withdrawals from the life insurance policy to a post office box she had opened. Rather than turning the money over to her clients, whom she served for 30 years, she used the money for personal purchases. Her withdrawals continued until she totally drained the account. It was only after the clients contacted the insurer directly to determine their account balance that the fraud was uncovered.

A California insurance agent was sent to jail for six years and ordered to pay $105,000 in restitution in connection with stealing property from an elderly person. According to authorities, the agent falsely told clients she was part owner of the agency, charging them service fees. After the agency uncovered this deception and fired her, the agent continued to do business under her own business name. She subsequently gained the trust of another elderly victim, talking her into gifting her $60,000. She promised the victim she would invest the money in bank CDs, but deposited it in her own checking account instead. The agent then charged another elderly client $8,500 in “coaching” fees to help her pre-plan for Medi-Cal long-term care. The woman never received any such services.

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