Former Claims Adjuster Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges

March 6, 2013

Brian Behl pled guilty to filing false insurance claims to divert more than $400,000 for his personal expenses. Sentencing has been set for May 16, 2013.

According to court documents, Brian Michael Behl worked for Allianz as a claims adjuster in the O’Fallon, Mo., office for about ten years until he was terminated on September 20, 2012.

Allianz, which also did business from time to time as Fireman’s Fund, is a company that provides insurance against theft, damage and other losses to personal property. Allianz’s clients are companies whose employees were re-locating for employment purposes.

Whenever property was damaged during a move, the covered employee would file a claim with Allianz, which would be reviewed by a claims adjuster. During the claims process, either the adjuster or a salvage company would assess the value of the damaged property. In some instances, a salvage company would pay the covered employee directly for the damaged property and then take custody of it. Allianz then reimbursed the salvage company.

Because of his years of experience, Behl had authority to approve insurance claims under $10,000 without the prior approval of a manager.

Between March 2010 and September 20, 2012, Behl falsified damage claims and caused Allianz to make substantial monetary payments to a fictitious salvage company. In furtherance of the scheme, Behl opened a bank account in the name of a fictitious company called B & M Salvage Repair. From his office in O’Fallon, Behl re-opened old Allianz accounts that had previously been closed and made false damage claims on those accounts.

Over the course of the fraud scheme, Behl caused more than 40 checks from Allianz or Fireman’s Fund to be issued payable to B & M Salvage to pay for the false claims, which he cashed and used for his own personal enjoyment. He purchased a 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra and a 2009 Harley Davidson motorcycle, and made other personal expenditures with the illegal proceeds. In all, Behl fraudulently diverted more than $400,000 to himself over the course of the scheme.

Additionally, Behl will be required to forfeit to the government all money and property derived from the illegal activity. Subject to forfeiture is the Ford Mustang, the motorcycle and $40,744 cash.

Mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $1 million. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

This case was investigated by the O’Fallon, Missouri, Police Department and the Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Reginald Harris is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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