Insurance Agent Stealing Premiums

An insurance attorney who has handled very many insurance cases will end up having a case where the agent took money from their customer but never got the insurance. The agent will give the customer a receipt and maybe hand them a “binder” to indicate the coverage is in effect, but just pocket the money, hoping the customer does not have to make a claim and never knows the difference.
The Insurance Journal published an article in September of 2015, where an agent pocketing money was the topic. The title of the article is, “Miami Agent Arrested for Operating With Expired License, Stealing Premium Funds.”
The article tells us that the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud announced the arrest of Tania Michel, 41, for failing to notify the Department of Financial Services of a federal fraud conviction, continuing to work in the insurance industry after having her license expire, and knowingly misappropriating premium funds while working at an insurance agency.
For a period of nine months, Michel worked at a North Miami Beach insurance agency with an expired professional license and with an unreported federal felony conviction. By failing to reapply for her license, she was able to further conceal the felony fraud conviction that would cause her to become permanently barred from the insurance industry. She was fired by the insurance agency owners for suspected misappropriation of funds and sought employment at another Miami insurance agency where she continued the same unlawful behavior of diverting, or stealing, clients’ monthly premium payments for personal use.
In 2007, Michel was arrested and later convicted for federal health care fraud and was ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution and put on probation for three years. The Department’s Division of Agent and Agency Services, which licenses insurance agents and representatives in Florida, also coordinated in the investigation and has revoked Michel’s insurance license. She is now permanently barred from the insurance industry in Florida.
She surrendered to DIF detectives and was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center facing multiple charges including the diversion of funds, transacting insurance without a license, and for failing to notify the Department of a criminal conviction. The case will be prosecuted by the office of Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle.
The article in a side notes tells of a Georgia insurance agent doing about the same. That article says A Gwinnett County, Ga. man convicted on charges including insurance fraud has been sentenced to serve five years in prison.
According to Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, 56-year-old Ronald Alan Dunn of Loganville was sentenced last Friday. A judge sentenced him to serve 20 years on probation once he’s out of prison and also ordered him to pay restitution of nearly $30,000 to his victims.
Investigators found that Dunn and his wife, insurance agent Cynthia Dunn, kept premium payments paid to them by three businesses, leading their clients to believe they were covered when they weren’t.
Cynthia Dunn was also indicted and is awaiting trial.