West Michigan Insurance Agent Charged with Scamming Clients
A West Michigan man is facing several years in prison for scamming people out of money.
MI’s Attorney General Dana Nessel along with the (newly-formed) Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) worked together to bring charges against 63-year-old Charles Booker Jr., an insurance agent out of Muskegon.
Booker Jr. is being accused of embezzling more than $17,000 from his clients between October 2014 and June 2016. In the case of 42 individuals, Booker made money off their insurance premiums and pocketed it for himself by choosing not
...to remit the premiums to Farmers Insurance.
Booker appeared in the Muskegon County Court and was arraigned on the following charges:
- Three counts of embezzlement of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000. Faces up to 5 years and/or $10K fine.
- One count of insurance fraud. Punishable by 4 years or $50k fine.
- Using a computer to commit a crime. Faces 7 years in prison or $5,000 fine.
He's currently out on bond and will be back in court for a preliminary examination on February 24th.
Both Nessel and the DIFS made statements that they will continue to work together to bring down con artists, such as Booker, who "prey on Michigan consumers."
According to the DIF's website, they were created to ensure the financial and insurance industries are regulated and also investigate any crimes that are reported. In a 2020 annual report, just over 8,000 complaints were made to the Fraud Investigation Unit between September 2018 and June 2020. They found that when insurance fraud is committed it doesn't only affect the victim but Americans as a whole.
Consider the following scenario: Every company providing goods or services pays for insurance as a cost of doing business. As a result of insurance fraud, the insurance company must raise rates charged to consumers and businesses. To cover the increased cost of its insurance, Michigan businesses must charge consumers more for goods and services.
You can file an anonymous fraud complaint here or call 877.999.6442.