Former Calif. Broker Sentenced in Scam

July 11, 2005

A former Antioch, California insurance broker has entered guilty pleas on multiple counts of grand theft and has been sentenced to three years in state prison and ordered to pay restitution totaling more than $1.3 million.

Mark Jerome Gentry, 39, entered his pleas on June 23 following an extensive investigation by the California Department of Insurance Investigation Division. He was sentenced in Contra Contra Costa County Superior Court.

The investigation focused on the insurance business activities of Gentry and Contractors Bond Brokerage Inc., a specialized insurance producer in the San Francisco Bay Area. It reportedly revealed that Gentry stole more than $1 million dollars of insurance premiums and collateral paid by numerous construction firms.

Investigators found that beginning in 1997, Gentry began selling and issuing unauthorized performance bonds for which he collected more than $200,000 in insurance premium payments. Gentry then failed to remit the premium to various insurance companies.

In 2001, Gentry’s appointments to sell insurance as an agent of a company were cancelled. Having no insurance market to place coverage with, Gentry reportedly began selling bogus insurance performance bonds.

Gentry issued fraudulent certificates of insurance and collected and diverted to his personal use an additional $564,000 of insurance premium payments, and more than $541,000 of cash collateral.

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