News and Press Releases

Scheme to Defraud Life Insurance Companies

August 4, 2010

NORFOLK, Va. – Four family members from Chesapeake, Va., were arrested today on charges that they defrauded life insurance companies out of millions of dollars.

            Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after the indictment and arrest warrants were unsealed by the court. 

            Last month, a Norfolk federal grand jury indicted Mitchell Marks, 58; Laura Marks, 57; Steve J. Marks, 60; and Danny Marks, 41, on conspiracy and mail fraud charges relating to their scheme. The indictment had been sealed pending their arrests.  Two others – Sarah Williams, 73, of Wichita, Kansas, and David Marks, 36, of Reno, Nev. – were also charged in the indictment.  Sarah Williams was arrested today in Wichita, while David Marks remains at large. 

            According to the indictment, the charged conspirators engaged in a scheme to defraud life insurance companies out of millions of dollars.  The members took out multiple life insurance policies on the older and sicker members of their families.  To obtain the policies, they made material misrepresentations on the insurance applications regarding the number of life insurance policies that were in force on the proposed insureds, their relationship amongst themselves, and the health and condition of the proposed insureds.  The indictment also alleges that they sent imposters to take insurance medical examinations, so they could pass the exam and get the best rates on the policies.  Throughout the life of the conspiracy, the defendants attempted to obtain life insurance policies with an aggregate value greater than $16 million, and received payouts from multiple policies in excess of $3.5 million on the deaths of two individuals.

            This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Office of Inspector General for the Social Security Administration.  Assistant United States Attorney Joseph L. Kosky is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

            Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

            A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on



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