Former Chattanooga-Area Public Claims Adjuster Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud Scheme
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – On November 10, 2020, Benjamin Reichel, 54, formerly of Ringgold, Georgia, entered a guilty plea to one count of mail fraud before United States Magistrate Judge Susan K. Lee in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Reichel admitted to engaging in a scheme to defraud through his business, Loss Recovery Specialists (“LRS”), which held itself out to be a public claims adjuster licensed through the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. Through LRS, Reichel identified homeowners and businesses who had suffered property damage and were seeking reimbursement through their insurance policies. Reichel then solicited payments for repairs and other services, misusing his victims’ funds for personal and private gains, and improper professional expenses. Reichel agreed that the United States could present proof of losses totaling between $550,000 and $1,500,000.
The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Cleveland Police Department, and other local law enforcement agencies. In connection with his plea agreement, the defendant agreed to forfeit certain funds and accounts to the United States, including a home in Ringgold.
Sentencing is set for April 7, 2021, at 2:00 p.m., in United States District Court in Chattanooga. The defendant faces a term of up to 20 years in prison, potential fines of up to $250,000, and the obligation of paying restitution to his victims. Individuals and businesses who believe they may be victims of this scheme or entitled to restitution are encouraged to contact the FBI via e-mail at LRSvictims@fbi.gov.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle J. Wilson represented the United States.