Insurance carrier sues agent for fraud, extortion

A large insurance carrier claims an agent is trying to extort $10,000 over an annuity with forged signatures

Insurance News

By Ryan Smith

An insurance carrier has filed a lawsuit against an insurance agent for fraud and extortion, according to a report from the Louisiana Record.

According to a complaint filed by Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America, Pennsylvania insurance agent Richard Sherwin, whose signature was allegedly forged on a $100,000 annuity application, is refusing to renounce ownership in the account unless he’s paid $10,000.

The complaint alleges that former Allianze agent John Reardon forged Sherwin’s signature on the account after his customer, Joseph Benevento, was rejected due to age. Allianz then issued the annuity in Sherwin’s name, funding it with Benevento’s $100,000, the Record reported.

Several months later, Benevento told the company that he hadn’t authorized the change in ownership to Sherwin and demanded his money back. The complaint states that Allianz determined that Reardon had forged the signatures, then contacted Sherwin and asked him to renounce ownership. Sherwin has refused to do so unless he’s paid $10,000, the Record reported.

Allianz is seeking a declaratory judgment determining Sherwin’s interest in the annuity, the Record reported. The company is also demanding reimbursement for its legal fees.

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