Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Fraudulent Agent Tricks: The Jig is Up edition

We've run into the so-called "Irish Travelers" before:

"[A] secretive and nomadic ethnic group whose members often garner their wealth by doing dubious repair work and executing scams — and by taking out exorbitant life insurance policies on one another."

But that was then, and this is, well, now:

"An insurance agent was sentenced to two years in federal prison Monday for his role in the ghoulish schemes of S.C. Irish Travelers to make up to $33 million off the deaths of elderly or sick people."

Wait, what??

When we wrote that first post on '15, it never really occurred to me that the agent(s?) would have had any direct involvement in the actual fraud. But apparently, there's decent dollars to be made (for a while, anyway), since at least three agents were complicit in the scheme, which went on for at least 4 years.

My favorite part if this, though, is the defense's claim that:

"[O]nly companies were victimized, not individuals. "He is not a person like Bernie Madoff, who was taking peoples' funds."


The stupid, it burns.

And it's not as if this was a one-off kind of deal:

"Once he showed them he would violate the law, they started approaching him and kept on approaching him ... Hundreds of these policies violated the law."

So how did it work?

Well, underwriting life insurance policies isn't just about height and weigh, smoker or no. There's also a financial aspect: carriers look askance at agents writing million dollar policies on, say, Walmart greeters. In this case, the agents apparently "inflated the net worth and income of the person being insured."

Which seems to me to suggest that these weren't necessarily outrageously large face amounts, which would typically raise home office flags as well as require (typically) an actual physical exam. But hundreds of $75,000 plans *still* adds up to a pretty big payday, no?

[Hat Tip: co-blogger Bob V]
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