News and Press Releases

Ex-Insurance Agent Sentenced for Embezzlement

June 12, 2012

COEUR D’ALENE – James K. Sokolis, 56, of Spokane, Washington, was sentenced today in United States District Court in Coeur d’Alene to 24 months in prison for insurance fraud, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also sentenced Sokolis to three years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $356,629.46 in restitution and a $300 special assessment. He pleaded guilty to the charge on March 21, 2012.

According to the plea agreement, Sokolis was an insurance agent who previously owned and operated Rockwood Insurance in Coeur d'Alene. Sokolis sold his book of business in August 2010. The new company hired Sokolis to work the book of business he sold to them until late January 2011. During this time, Sokolis misappropriated clients' premium payments by failing to purchase the policies paid for or failing to remit the entire premium entrusted to him to the insurance carrier. Sokolis admitted that he misappropriated a total of $356,629.46.

“Today’s sentence sends a strong message that those who are entrusted with other people’s money have an obligation to act honestly and for the benefit of their clients,” said Olson. “Mr. Sokolis violated his clients’ trust. For that he will spend the next two years in a federal prison. This office and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners will continue to prosecute financial crimes aggressively and cooperatively.”

The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service, the Idaho Department of Insurance and the Coeur d'Alene Police Department.