Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the state Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) have announced that a local insurance agent charged with fraud and stealing from his clients has pleaded guilty.
Sixty-three-year-old Charles Booker, Jr. of Muskegon, MI was arraigned in February for three counts of embezzlement by an agent/trustee of $1,000 or more (but less than $20,000), one count of insurance fraud and a charge using a computer to commit a crime.
On Wednesday in Muskegon County's 60th District Court, Booker pleaded guilty to three counts of misdemeanor embezzlement by an agent of $200 or more but less than $1,000. He was ordered to pay $13,764 in restitution prior to entering the guilty plea and asked to sign a written acknowledgement that he engaged in insurance fraud and that he is no longer eligible to reapply for an insurance agent license.
In addition to the restitution, Booker was also ordered by Judge Maria Ladas Hoopes to pay $1,500 in fines and costs, a press release from the Michigan Department of Attorney General said.
According to the attorney general’s office, Booker allegedly collected insurance premiums from 42 clients between October 2014 and June 2016 but failed to remit them to Farmers Insurance, instead choosing to pocket the cash. He also allegedly applied the money of three of his clients to the policies of other clients whose premiums he also did not remit to the insurer.
“My office continues to work alongside DIFS to ensure Michiganders who entrust their finances to insurance agents can be confident their money is being used as intended," said Attorney General Nessel. "I'm proud of the work done to ensure accountability in this case. It should serve as a reminder that we stand ready to pursue justice against anyone who violates our laws."
"We are pleased to continue our strong partnership with the Attorney General to successfully prosecute criminals like Mr Booker," added DIFS director Anita Fox.