La. Producer Accused of Taking More Than $250K in Company Funds

May 25, 2005

A Tangipahoa, La., insurance producer received a cease and desist order from the Louisiana Department of Insurance for allegedly bilking her employer, insurance producer Henry Powell, Jr., of more than $250,000. The DOI reported that its Fraud Unit investigators, accompanied by the Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office, served Laura Elizabeth Watkins, 42, with a C&D order and summary suspension of her license.

Watkins is accused of taking at least $255,000 from the company operating account without the permission of her employer between 1999 and 2004. There is no evidence that any insurance premium payments were involved and no policyholders were harmed by Watkins’ actions.

The C&D follows her initial arrest by the Ponchatoula Police Department in December 2004 and her subsequent guilty plea in April 2005 to 50 counts of felony theft. As a special condition of her probation, Watkins was required to pay restitution to the victim, Henry Powell, Jr.

DOI records show that Watkins held a life, health and accident insurance license from June 1999 until the current action. Her last address on file with the department is 19242 Country Club Lane, Hammond; however she is believed to be residing at 14108 Kohnke Hill Road, Hammond, where she was served.

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