Montana Auditor’s Office Takes Action Against Insurance Agent

July 10, 2006

A Helena, Mont., insurance agent had his license suspended and was ordered to stop doing business in Montana after allegedly committing insurance fraud and deceptive and illegal sales practices, the state auditor’s office said.

Bart Murnion’s attorney, Linda M. Deola, said the auditor’s actions were “without merit” and her client has requested a hearing.

Murnion, a Montana resident who was living in Minneapolis at the time of the latest action, was the subject of an earlier investigation by the auditor’s office, said deputy securities commissioner Lynne Egan.

The first came after Murnion was accused of telling investors in the Billings area that they could earn a higher rate of return on their investments by lending money to Murnion and his wife, Kaia, through a promissory note.

Murnion apparently told investors their money would be used for a business expansion, but no expansion occurred and the Murnions declared bankruptcy, the auditor’s office said.

In early 2006, Murnion was banned from selling securities in Montana, Egan said.

In late May, the auditor’s office learned that Murnion was traveling to Montana and conducting insurance business without a license, Egan said.

Murnion told investors he worked for a company called Sentinel Financial, LLC, and that he offered an annuity product through Allianz Life, the auditor’s office said. He also allegedly told investors he charged $1,500 for his services.

A spokesman for Allianz Life said Murnion had been authorized to sell its annuity products until June 2003.

Deola said Murnion has been called for military duty and a hearing set for later this year will likely have to be rescheduled.

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