Miss. Man Jailed in Insurance Scam to Finish Sentence at Home

June 22, 2007

Thurston Little, a Corinth, Miss., businessman sentenced for his role in an insurance scam run by Martin Frankel, apparently will be allowed to serve the remainder of his federal sentence at home.

Little, 74, was sentenced in June 2005 to 29 months each on two separate counts – aiding and abetting in making false entries and aiding and abetting in money laundering – in connection with the Frankel international insurance scam.

The sentences were to run at the same time and concurrently with a two-year sentence he received in Connecticut after pleading guilty in February 2005 to money laundering and conspiracy for hiding more than $6 million he was paid by Frankel.

Little is scheduled to be released from federal custody on Aug. 2, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

The Bureau of Prisons’ Web site indicated Monday that Little is still in the custody of the Montgomery, Ala., community center. Katina Stewart at the Montgomery facility said Little had been transferred to a federal halfway house in Tupelo.

A woman who answered the phone at the halfway house said Little is on home confinement.

The Bureau of Prisons’ Web site says inmates often are placed on home confinement for the last six months or last 10 percent of their sentences. They have strict curfew and schedule requirements, according to the Web site, and often must wear electronic monitoring.

Prosecutors said Little, a prominent real estate developer in Alcorn County, hid more than $6 million he was paid by Frankel, who schemed to loot insurance companies in Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Tennessee that mostly sold funeral policies to the poor. Frankel later fled the country and was a fugitive for months.

Prosecutors said Frankel hired Little – the brother of Mississippi Senate President Pro Tempore Travis Little – because of his political connections to state insurance regulators. Prosecutors said Thurston Little lied to regulators.

Frankel bought the insurance companies through a trust he set up to hide his involvement.

While claiming he was investing the companies’ assets, Frankel instead stole the money to finance a lavish lifestyle. Frankel fled the county in May 1999. He was arrested in Germany four months later and pleaded guilty to 24 counts of fraud and racketeering in 2002. He was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison.

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