By Warren S. Hersch
A Los Angeles-based life insurance agent has been arrested
on charges of financial elder abuse, the California Department of Insurance has disclosed.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced the arrest of Frank J. Conlon, 73, charging the Los Angeles-based agent of two felony counts for allegedly defrauded seniors and embezzling premium funds in excess of $1,000,000.
Jones said that Conlon’s actions violate California Penal Code Section 368 (d), Elder Abuse; Penal Code Section 487 (a), Grand Theft; Penal Code Section 186.11 (a) (3), Fraud; and Penal Code Section 12022.6 (a) (3), for theft exceeding $1 million.
If convicted, Jones said, Conlon could face up to 5 years in state prison on each felony count and restitution in an amount at or exceeding approximately $1,000,000.
“Insurance agents who prey upon seniors for financial gain will be apprehended and punished,” said Jones. “My department’s investigators and staff have been instrumental in investigating and rooting out these unscrupulous participants in the insurance business.”
According to investigators, in September 2011, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) received complaints that alleged Conlon had diverted premium funds from numerous clients. The investigation revealed that Conlon had in fact diverted funds without consent or knowledge of his clients.
Conlon allegedly hid the theft of funds by providing the victims with fraudulent documents purporting to be from an insurance company. The false documents, Jones said, were an effort to mislead the victims into believing their money had been sent to the insurance company.
When Conlon was confronted by the victims about the whereabouts of their money, he continued to misrepresent the whereabouts of their respective funds, the department alleges. Two of the victims were 82 years old and 86 years old, respectively, and the money represented a substantial portion of their retirement funds.
The clients had entrusted the designated funds to Conlon to purchase life insurance products and annuities. Instead of carrying out their requests, the department alleges, Conlon stole these funds for personal use. The identified premium theft for the time period of September 2007 through September 2011 totaled $1,009,640.83.
The department says that Conlon was booked into the Los Angeles County Jail with bail set at $1,009,641. His arraignment is tentatively set for April, 26, 2012 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The Investigation Division, Criminal Operations - Point of Sale (C.O.P.S.) Unit investigated this case.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Elder Abuse Unit is prosecuting the case.
This case was investigated and prosecuted under the Life and Annuity Consumer Protection Program (LACPP). LACPP provides grant funds to counties for the prosecution of financial abuse in life insurance and annuity product transactions.
Originally published on LifeHealthPro.com