(STL.News) – A plea deal has been reached in a case involving a Genesee County insurance agent who allegedly embezzled from her clients and provided them with phony insurance certificates, leading them to believe they had insurance for their homes or automobiles when they actually didn’t. Charges were filed in the case by the Attorney General’s office in October 2018 after it was referred to the office by the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS).
Angella Kay Swain, 53, pleaded no contest Monday before Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Celeste Bell to one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, 11 counts of embezzlement by an agent between $1,000 and $20,000, and one count of using a computer to commit a crime.
As part of the plea deal, Swain agreed to pay back all the money she allegedly embezzled, between $100,000 and $150,000, in restitution to approximately 60 victims. Preliminary sentencing guidelines recommend that Swain serve a minimum of 36-60 months in prison, up to a maximum of 20 years. Her sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 26.
Conducting a criminal enterprise and using a computer to commit a crime are both 20-year felonies, while each of the felony embezzlement charges carries a five-year sentence.
“When hardworking Michiganders seek the assistance of an insurance agent to protect their belongings, they should not have to worry that their money is being mishandled or used inappropriately,” Nessel said. “My office and the Department of Insurance and Financial Services take fraud cases very seriously, and I’m grateful for the work of my team and the professionals at DIFS for seeing this to a conclusion that provides victims compensation for their losses.”
“The victims in this case were left without the insurance coverage they paid for and relied on, some discovering that they were uninsured only after they were in an accident and tried to make a claim,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “Michigan citizens should feel secure that the insurance they pay for will be there when they need it. This case is yet another example of DIFS and the Attorney General working together to protect Michigan consumers.”
Between 2011 and 2016, Swain took some of her clients’ insurance premiums and converted the money to her own use instead of remitting them to the insurance companies. In many instances, Swain issued her clients false insurance certificates, leading her clients to believe they had homeowners or auto insurance coverage when they did not.
Swain was a licensed insurance producer and operated the Swain Agency from 2002 to 2013.
DIFS took enforcement actions against Swain in 2003, 2006 and 2009. In 2013, DIFS summarily suspended Swain’s insurance producer license and permanently revoked it in December 2014 for misappropriating clients’ premiums.
In November 2013, Swain’s ex-husband, Cornell Jones Sr., began operating the Select Insurance Agency, where Swain continued to sell fake insurance policies. Through her operation of the Swain Agency and the Select Insurance Agency, multiple victims reportedly paid for homeowner’s or vehicle insurance between 2011 and 2016 but did not receive coverage. In some instances, the victims discovered they lacked insurance after they were in automobile accidents and tried to make claims against canceled policies.