Minnesota Insurance Agent Charged with Forgery and Fraud

The Minnesota Department of Commerce has summarily suspended the resident insurance producer license of Michael Antonello of New Brighton and charged him with insurance fraud and forgery. The department also summarily suspended the agency insurance license of Wealth Management Advisors of Minneapolis, of which Antonello is chairman.

In a 39-page order for summary suspension, Department of Commerce investigators allege that Antonello secured 44 life insurance policies from October of 1999 to December of 2004 on the life of John Paulson totaling $127.75 million. To secure that much insurance for one man, Antonello allegedly misrepresented to the insurance companies the total amount of coverage already in force for Mr. Paulson. He also incorrectly indicated on several applications that policies already in force for Mr. Paulson would be replaced by newer policies.

Antonello received large commissions from the sale of these policies and also profited from selling each of the policies to investors in the Stranger Originated Life Insurance (STOLI) marketplace after the two year incontestability period. STOLI policies are purchased by investors who take over the premium payments until the insured dies, at which time the investor receives the death benefit.

Several insurance companies have sued to rescind the policies and recover commissions Antonello has received.

Commerce investigators also outlined three other cases involving multiple life insurance polices and allegations of fraud:

The Department’s order for summary suspension of Antonello’s license is effective immediately and will be considered at a hearing in front of Administrative Law Judge Bruce H. Johnson on May 14, 2009.

Source: DOI