Ind. Broker Convicted in Sports Insurance Fraud Case

January 8, 2007

A federal judge has sentenced a man to more than two years in prison for fraudulently collecting more than $1.2 million from schools and colleges in Indiana, Illinois and other states for sports accident insurance.

Steven L. Kitchin, 39, of Ossian, had pleaded guilty to federal charges of mail fraud and failure to timely file a tax return. Kitchin worked as president of Athletic Risk Services Inc., an insurance brokerage company.

A U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service investigation found that Kitchin fraudulently collected money starting in 1997 from small colleges, high schools and school districts for sports accident insurance, according to court documents.

He would provide the schools with policies containing false information, such as a fake policy number, authorities said.

In court Thursday, Kitchin read from a three-page letter saying he was always one big account away from being a big agency.

“I didn’t set out or intend to get money from people for my own benefit,” he said. “I never intended for this to happen.”

Judge William Lee also ordered Kitchin to pay about $1.25 million in restitution to 20 colleges and schools across the country.

The schools in Indiana found to have lost money in the scheme are the South Bend Community School Corp., $166,400; St. Joseph’s College of Rensselaer, $62,325; the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, $49,862; and Heritage Christian High School of Indianapolis, $13,860.

The largest loss was about $297,000 by Eastern Illinois University.

Kitchin, badly injured in a car accident eight years ago, uses a wheelchair and requires around-the-clock care. He asked the judge to let him serve his sentence at home.

“I’ve seen no evidence that the Bureau of Prisons can’t take care of you,” Lee told Kitchin.

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