Former Denton County Insurance Agent Sentenced to 292 Months in Federal Prison and Ordered to Pay More Than $4 Million Restitution on Fraud Conviction
Defendant Used Elderly as Straw Buyers in Fraud Scheme
DALLAS - A former Denton County insurance agent, who was convicted at trial last summer on several felony offenses stemming from a scheme to defraud various life insurance companies, was sentenced today in federal court in Dallas.
U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor sentenced Vincent Bazemore, 40, formerly of Aubrey, Texas, to serve a total of 292 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay $4,014,627 in restitution. A jury deliberated just one hour before convicting him in July 2013 on all counts of an indictment charging four counts of mail fraud. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldana of the Northern District of Texas.
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.
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 individuals 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 the policies were obtained for the purpose of being transferred to investors. Bazemore had agreements with insurance companies and managing agents that provided 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) that 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’s 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 www.stopfraud.gov.
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Stokes prosecuted.
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