News and Press Releases

Ryan Paul Shipman Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on May 5, 2011, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, RYAN PAUL SHIPMAN, a 37-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. SHIPMAN was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 21 months

Special Assessment: $100

Restitution: to be determined within 90 days

Supervised Release: 2 years

SHIPMAN was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to mail fraud.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica T. Fehr, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

SHIPMAN was a claims adjustor for Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company ("Mountain West") in Billings. Mountain West is headquartered in Laramie, Wyoming. SHIPMAN was employed by Mountain West from October 2003 through September 2010. SHIPMAN was responsible for handling property and casualty insurance claims for policy holders.

From October of 2008 until September of 2010, SHIPMAN and a client of Mountain West, R.P., conspired to defraud the insurance company by paying SHIPMAN, R.P. or one of R.P.'s many companies, additional money for existing claims involving R.P. and his companies. SHIPMAN would also select insurance claims from other policy holders, without their knowledge, and add additional charges such as deck repairs, vehicle storage fees, siding repairs and water damage repairs to their insurance claim. SHIPMAN and R.P. would create false invoices to support the insurance claims being submitted to Mountain West. The false invoices were submitted for work allegedly done by companies owned by R.P. or R.P. individually. Once the claim, supporting documentation and invoices were submitted by SHIPMAN to Mountain West, Mountain West issued a check from their Wyoming office and mailed it to SHIPMAN, R.P. or one of the various addresses in Montana provided by the conspirators. Mountain West relied on the documentation submitted by SHIPMAN in paying the insurance claims. Mountain West's process of mailing the check from its Wyoming office was standard practice and well known by SHIPMAN.

Once the checks for the fraudulent claims were received, they were cashed or deposited by SHIPMAN or by R.P. into one of his bank accounts. The proceeds of the fraud were then split between SHIPMAN and R.P.. R.P. either provided SHIPMAN with cash or with a check for his half of the fraudulent funds.

The claims submitted by SHIPMAN and R.P. were completely fictitious. No actual work was ever performed by SHIPMAN, R.P., or any of R.P.'s companies for the insurance claims submitted to and paid by Mountain West.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that SHIPMAN will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, SHIPMAN does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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