Federal Jury Convicts Former Denton County Insurance Agent in Fraud
Defendant Used Elderly as Straw Buyers
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 16, 2013|
DALLAS—Following a three-day trial before U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor, a federal jury in Dallas deliberated just one hour before convicting Vincent Bazemore, 39, formerly of Aubrey, Texas, on all counts of an indictment charging four counts of mail fraud related to a scheme he ran to defraud various life insurance companies. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldana of the Northern District of Texas.
Bazemore is currently in federal custody serving a five-year sentence on a federal securities fraud conviction in the district in 2009. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and restitution on each of the four counts of conviction. In addition, there is a penalty enhancement as Bazemore was found to have committed these offenses while he was pre-trial release on the securities fraud case, and under this enhancement, Bazemore is subject to an additional 10 years’ imprisonment to run consecutive to any sentence that he may receive on any of the mail fraud counts. Sentencing is set for December 12, 2013, before Judge O’Connor.
The government presented evidence at trial that between October 2007 and April 2009, Bazemore, an insurance agent, engaged in a scheme to obtain substantial commissions by inducing life insurance companies to issue policies on applications of individuals who appeared to be wealthy and seeking insurance for estate planning purposes, when, in fact, the applicants were of modest financial means, and the policies were intended to be transferred to investors.
Further evidence presented in court showed that Bazemore solicited elderly individuals to apply for policies by representing that the life insurance was an investment with no financial cost or exposure and would result in a sizable monetary benefit to the individual’s heirs. Bazemore prepared the applications and related documents on behalf of the applicants that contained forged signatures and falsified financial information to induce the life insurance companies into issuing the policies. Bazemore also submitted the false and fraudulent applications and related documents to financial institutions to obtain premium financing on the policies. In fact, the applicants were of modest financial means and that the policies were obtained for the purpose of being transferred to investors. Bazemore had agreements with insurance companies and managing agents which provided that he would receive, for each policy issued on an application he submitted, a commission of 95 to 105 percent of the first year’s premium paid on the policy.
Today’s announcement is related to efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants, including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit http://www.stopfraud.gov/.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Stokes and P.J. Meitl.