Friday, May 22, 2015

Insurance Agent Steals Identity Information

By Greg Wright, 
Certified Fraud Examiner
Certified Financial Planner™

Lake County IN Mug Shot
Insurance Agent Marlon Leon Underwood advertised himself as representing American Freedom Financial, “The #1 Ranked Independent Boutique Broker-Dealer in the Country.” 

Mr. Underwood was convicted of taking personal information from policyholders and applied for credit cards and committed other financial crimes in Indiana.  According to prosecutors, his victims were primarily the elderly included a 79-year-old woman confined to a nursing home.

He was arrested for racketeering, forgery and identity theft.  According to court records, Underwood was sentenced to prison in Indiana for Identity Deception.  Once he is finished with Indiana's hospitality, the authorities in Kenner, Louisiana want to talk to him for allegedly opening a personal bank account at the local Iberia Bank and transferring funds from a Kenner resident’s account into his account. 

Underwood had continued his crimes even after his insurance license had been revoked by the Indiana Department of Insurance.

Insurance and financial planning professionals are often the sources of personal identifiable information used by identity crooks.  When you purchase any form of insurance or investments, the financial advisor will receive enough information from you to apply for credit in your name and steal your identity.  Identity theft costs us more than home break-ins. 

Many firms don’t train their staff to be as vigilant as needed. I have visited insurance agencies and accounting offices where employees leave post-it notes with client information on desks, client files are left stacked against the wall in unsecured file rooms and some even send Social Security numbers over unencrypted emails. Until a financial organization experiences a data breach, many are too busy running their businesses to be concerned about your personal information and potential identity theft.

Thanks to the Lake County Sheriff Department for its assistance.