Calif. Life Agent Pleads No Contest to Forgery Charge

August 2, 2004

Ralph Primo, 51, of Santa Monica, Calif., a licensed life insurance agent, plead no contest to one felony count of forgery recently.

Primo was sentenced to three years formal probation and community service. The court also ordered Primo to pay restitution to the victim. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Elder Abuse Unit prosecuted the case.

“The financial victimization of our senior community is a particularly heinous crime,” said California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi. “My office will continue to investigate these predators – large or small – and work with our local partners to ensure prosecution.”

An investigation conducted by the California Department of Insurance’s Investigation Division reportedly determined that Primo, while employed as a financial consultant with WM Financial Services in Hollywood, California, forged the initials of a 70-year-old female victim in connection with the sale of a variable annuity policy.

A variable annuity is an investment where a principal sum of money paid to a financial institution is subsequently paid out over a set period of time at a variable interest rate. There are different penalty charges associated with annuity investment products.

In this case, the victim was not informed of these charges at the time of the sale of the annuity policy. The victim invested more than $280,000; Primo must repay the $5,000 commission he received.

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