Former Insurance Agency Owner Sentenced to Over Two Years For Defrauding Clients Out of More Than $500,000
TULSA, Okla.–Gary Edward Hibbing, a former insurance agent and owner of Grand Lake Investments and Insurance in Grove, Oklahoma, was sentenced to serve 27 months in prison for implementing a fraudulent scheme that caused his clients to lose $505,126, announced United States Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr. for the Northern District of Oklahoma. In addition to the prison sentence, United States District Chief Judge Gregory K. Frizzell ordered Hibbing to pay $505,126 in restitution.
Hibbing, 53, of Chino, California, was indicted on August 12, 2015, and he pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and two counts of unlawful monetary transactions on April 4, 2016.
Hibbing defrauded his victims through a scheme called “twisting”— an insurance industry term that refers to the fraudulent practice by an insurance agent of convincing a client to surrender an existing annuity in exchange for a new one. There is usually a penalty for early termination of an annuity and the client often loses money while the agent makes money on a new commission.
In addition, Hibbing lied to clients to convince them to surrender their existing annuities and immediately purchase new ones. He intentionally failed to disclose early termination penalties. He also provided false information to insurance companies to facilitate his twisting scheme.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kevin C. Leitch, Clemon D. Ashley, and Catherine Depew.