Insurance Agent Objects to Paying Restitution in Kickback Scheme

November 12, 2007

Mississippi Insurance agent Ken Nowlin is objecting to a pre-sentence report that suggests he may have to pay restitution to Lafayette County in a kickback scheme involving the county’s health care coverage.

In July, Nowlin pleaded guilty in federal court in Oxford, Miss., to conspiracy charges related to his dealings with former county Supervisor Gary Massey.

In an objection to a pre-sentence report filed in October, Nowlin claims that since the county and its employees received the health benefits the county paid for, he should not have to pay back any restitution since there was “no loss to Lafayette County nor to its employees.”

Nowlin, of Ecru, is awaiting his sentencing hearing.

The purpose of a pre-sentence report is to give the judge information to assist in deciding on an appropriate sentence. It usually includes the offender’s family background and other relationships, education and employment, accommodations, financial situation, health and any past criminal history.

In his plea agreement, it states that “the defendant understands that the court may order restitution in accordance with (state codes),” although Nowlin claims he did not actually agree to pay restitution.

Nowlin faces no more than five years in prison, three years of probation and $250,000 in fines and restitution.

Massey pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy and two counts of public corruption in federal court in Aberdeen. Massey, too, is awaiting sentencing.

Massey and Nowlin were charged in June for conspiracy, public corruption and money laundering in a 53-count indictment, which alleged Massey accepted payments in excess of $827,000 during his term as supervisor, for the Lafayette County Employee Health Care Contract paid through Nowlin, the agent on record at the time.

Before he became a supervisor in 1995, Massey was the insurance agent of record for Lafayette County. Federal prosecutors claim Massey used his influence to get Nowlin the job as insurance agent of record in exchange for the commission.

Prosecutors said Nowlin would receive payment for services in two checks made out to his office from plan administrator Total Plan Services. Nowlin took the checks and told his office to write a separate one to Massey for a “consulting fee.”

Massey was a county supervisor from 1996-2004.

Information from: Oxford Eagle,

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