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Press Release

North Chesterfield insurance agent sentenced for defrauding employer and clients

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. – A North Chesterfield insurance and annuities agent was sentenced today to one year and three months years in prison for mail fraud after swindling his employer and clients in multiple schemes.

According to court documents, from August 2017 through March 2020, Joseph O’Carroll III, 52, scammed his employer for commissions and incentives by writing insurance policies for individuals without their consent or knowledge.

O’Carroll used the personal identifying information (PII) of clients, including their names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and bank account numbers, to apply for fraudulent life insurance policies in their names and forged their signatures on the applications. O’Carroll created and maintained email addresses purportedly belonging to his clients, which he then listed on the insurance applications to facilitate communications with the insurance companies. For one client, O’Carroll listed his own BB&T checking account from which the issuing insurance company was to automatically withdraw the premiums on applications for the policies. For other clients, O’Carroll listed the clients’ bank accounts.  When the policies were issued, the insurance companies began withdrawing and attempting to withdraw premium payments from the listed bank accounts. While attempts to withdraw payments from O’Carroll’s bank account were unsuccessful, resulting in the cancellation of those policies, premiums were withdrawn from other client accounts, resulting in thousands of dollars being taken from them.

On at least one policy, O’Carroll listed himself as the beneficiary. During an Aug. 4, 2020, interview with the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance, O’Carroll admitted that the client was “out of it” at the time due to the death of the client’s wife, and ultimately admitted that he wrote that policy and others to assist himself in winning a 2019 incentive trip to the Riviera Maya in Mexico from his employer.

In addition to applying for fraudulent life insurance policies in that client’s name, O’Carroll obtained most of the balance of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“ESOP”) account belonging to the client with the promise to reinvest the funds in another qualified retirement account. After gaining access to the client’s ESOP account portal, a request was submitted directing the ESOP servicer to remit two checks on December 31, 2019: one to Equitable Financial Group at O’Carroll’s home address in the amount of $57,659.28, and a second in the amount of $4,627.92 to the client’s home address. O’Carroll deposited the $57,629.28 check into a bank account he controlled, and kept and used the funds for his own personal expenses without the client’s knowledge or consent.

O’Carroll pled guilty on Jan. 18.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ajay Lall, Acting Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge David J. Novak.

The U.S. Attorney thanks the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance for their assistance in the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kashan Pathan and Mike C. Moore and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Kaitlin G. Cooke prosecuted the case.

The Central Virginia Financial Crimes Task Force, created in 2022, is a partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and representatives of local financial institutions. Co-chaired by the Richmond Field Office of the United States Secret Service and the Washington Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Task Force utilizes the knowledge and experience of its many partners to develop intelligence and pursue investigations into crimes that target or involve financial institutions located throughout the Central Virginia region.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:24-cr-3.


Press Officer

Updated May 20, 2024

Financial Fraud