N.J. Agent Says He Stole More than $429,000

July 7, 2004

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that a Camden County insurance agent has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $429,000 as part of a complex insurance fraud and investment scheme in which he convinced family and friends to invest in non-existent investments.

According to Vaughn McKoy, director of the Division of Criminal Justice, and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Peter Clark, 36, of Westmont, Camden County, pleaded guilty before Camden County Superior Court Judge Linda Baxter to charges contained in a criminal Accusation filed by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.

The Accusation charged Clark with theft by failure to make required disposition of property received and theft by deception. When sentenced on Aug. 6, Clark faces up to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $300,000. Clark may also face civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the civil Insurance Fraud Prevention Act, and the case will be referred to the Department of Banking and Insurance for appropriate action.

At the guilty plea hearing, Clark, an independent agent with contracts to write annuity and/or insurance policies for various insurance companies and brokers, reportedly admitted that between June 7, 2001 and Oct. 28, 2003, to purchasing several annuity policies for himself and family members in order to receive the commissions for the sales. The personal checks he submitted to pay for the premiums for the annuity policies were returned for insufficient funds.

The investigation determined that Clark fraudulently collected non-authorized commissions from the following insurance companies:

• American National Insurance Company – $56,034
• Allianz Life Insurance Company – $36,125
• Conseco Services LLC – $38,500
• American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company – $9,400
• American Investors Life – $6,717
• ING USA Annuity & Life Insurance Company – $44,603
• Midland National Life-Annuity Division – $15,961
• North American Company Life & Health Insurance – $9,948

Clark also reportedly admitted that from Jan. 1, 1999 through Dec. 31, 2000, he defrauded at least 10 people, including his mother and other family members, by convincing them to invest a lump sum of money in a phony investment that would pay the investor 12 percent annual interest.

The investment accounts were non-existent and it was charged that Clark used the monies for personal expenses.

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