Businesses that routinely handle large amounts of money are lucrative targets for embezzlement. Insurance companies can be especially vulnerable because they handle many transactions in short periods of time, and an employee who understands the system can make unauthorized transfers that can be easily concealed. A recent investigation and arrest by Lackawanna County detectives reveals the extent of this vulnerability.
A former branch manager at Excalibur Insurance Management Services in Scranton was arrested and charged with stealing $266,000 from the company over the course of the last seven years. According to investigators, the defendant created false insurance claims, moved the claims through the company’s claims process and deposited the resulting payments into his personal bank account. The majority of payments ranged from $12,500 to $15,000.
The fake claims were created under policies issued to either the Luzerne County Transit Authority or the city of Wilkes-Barre. The defendant told investigators that neither of these policies involved any deductible amounts and that any payments under these policies would go entirely to the claimants. The defendant implied that he avoided policies with deductibles because they would have raised too many red flags. Investigators stated that the thefts were discovered by the company’s internal auditing system and by the statements of a fellow employee who had discovered the thefts.
While the evidence against the defendant appears at this point to be overwhelming, he is still entitled to the presumption that he is innocent until he has been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone facing similar charges can benefit from consulting a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in defending similar white collar crimes. Such a consultation can provide an evaluation of the strength of the prosecution’s case, an enumeration of various defense strategies and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.
Source: Pahomepage, “Insurance Employee Charged in $266,000 Theft,” Eric Deabill, Oct. 13, 2015