Former Ill. Agent Sentenced for Defrauding Clients

January 3, 2005

A Morgan County man, James G. Kent, 42, of Jacksonville, Illinois, was sentenced recently to a term of 21 months in federal prison for defrauding clients of his insurance business, as announced by Jan Paul Miller, United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois.

U.S. District Judge Jeanne Scott ordered Kent to report on Jan. 25, 2005, to a facility designated by the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence. Judge Scott further ordered Kent to pay $177,083.62 in restitution to the victims of the offense.

Kent pled guilty to a single count of mail fraud in July 2004 before Judge Scott. At the plea hearing, Kent waived indictment and reportedly admitted that from 1998 to February 2003, he devised a scheme to obtain money for himself by misdirecting funds entrusted to him by his clients. During this time, Kent worked as an independent insurance agent for Hopkins Insurance Services in Jacksonville, Illinois. In that capacity, he received money from clients for insurance policies, annuities and other investments.

Kent admitted that he deposited clients’ funds into his own account and spent the money for his personal use. Kent also admitted he forged clients’ signatures on withdrawal requests, withdrew funds from their accounts without their knowledge, and forged their endorsements on withdrawal checks.

To conceal his activity from his clients, Kent admitted that on several occasions he made false statements and prepared false documents.

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