Insurance Agent Cheating People

The Insurance Journal published an article in May 2016, that insurance lawyers and consumers will find interesting. The article is titled, Fraud Lead to 20 Year Prison Sentence for Houston Insurance Agent.
Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson that a Houston-based insurance agent has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after a Texas Department of Insurance investigation uncovered an annuity scam, in which she bilked almost a dozen elderly clients out of more than $3 million.
TDI investigators built their case against Celia Castillo after getting complaints about the legitimacy of the investment products she was selling.
Case records revealed Castillo created a bank account where she diverted the investments of clients, who believed they were purchasing annuities. The money instead went directly into the account Castillo created for herself.
Annuities are a type of insurance product where the buyer receives regular annual payments for life. In this case the annuities were never actually purchased.
TDI investigator Geneva Titus said the crime was especially insidious because Castillo preyed on older clients who had no nearby relatives. Her victims were all over the age of 70, and two were more than 90 years old.
“She would really become part of their lives, carefully building relationships with each of these folks,” Titus said. “She would visit with them, give them rides, have dinner with them — all with the goal of gaining their trust and eventually stealing their life savings.”
TDI investigators, who are certified peace officers working within the agency, coordinated with Special Assistant District Attorney Jesse McClure on the case. Once indicted and faced with the possibility of a trial, Castillo agreed to accept a 20-year prison term and will begin serving the sentence this month.
The Texas Penal Code has an entire chapter devoted to insurance fraud. Chapter 35 defines insurance fraud and the penalties for violation. The penalties are at Section 35.02(c) and range from a Class C misdemeanor to a felony of the first degree.

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