Man Accused Of Elaborate Insurance Scheme

Mar 20, 2008

Tampa Bay Observer–Mar. 19, 2008
By Dan  Fearson of Highlands Today

AVON PARK — A Bowling Green man, who worked as a life insurance agent in Avon Park, was arrested Tuesday for fraudulently buying 36 life insurance policies reportedly to collect commissions on them, according to the Florida Department of Financial Services, which investigated the case.

Kevin Earl Cochran, 35, of 301 W. Lemon St., has been charged with using another person’s identity without consent to obtain $50,000 or more, possessing 10 or more counterfeit bills, misrepresenting an insurance premium over $20,000 but under $100,000, counterfeiting a doctor’s certificate, passing a forged or altered instrument, misapplying an insurance premium over $300 but under $20,000, larceny of $20,000 but less than $100,000, using a counterfeit instrument with intent to defraud, and altering a public record or certificate.

According to a criminal offense affidavit provided by the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, Cochran allegedly initiated life insurance policies on individuals without their permission, collecting more than $41,000 in commission.

According to the affidavit, Cochran worked as an agent at Avon Insurance Brokers Inc., 902 W. Circle Ave., a claim which the owner denied Wednesday.

Cochran allegedly used his former clients’ names and health history information to forge insurance policies from 2003 to 2005, according to the affidavit. Cochran reportedly used false addresses, Social Security numbers and telephone numbers on insurance applications.

Cochran reportedly used another man’s bank account to make payments on the policies. Cochran also reportedly used the man’s name, and his wife’s name, as beneficiaries on the policies he opened, often canceling them after he received commission.

The Policies
On July 28, 2003, Cochran allegedly submitted a life insurance policy to the Life Insurance Company of America (LIICA) on behalf of a Sebring man valued at $100,000. The victim reportedly told investigators that he had no knowledge of the policy and that he didn’t know the man, whose bank account Cochran was reportedly using to make premium payments.

On Sept. 30, 2003, Cochran reportedly submitted two life insurance policies to LIICA on an Avon Park couple valued at $100,000 apiece, listing a female name as a beneficiary. The couple told investigators that they did not authorize the policies and that they had given Avon Insurance Brokers personal information many years prior for another policy.

On Sept. 30, 2003, Cochran allegedly submitted policies on a pair of Highlands County sisters valued at $100,000 apiece, using a female name as a beneficiary. The sisters said that they never talked to Cochran or gave him permission to take out the policies.

On March 25, 2004, Cochran allegedly submitted two life insurance policies to Peoples Insurance Company, valued at $100,000 apiece on a Sebring couple. The couple reportedly told investigators that they took out a policy from Cochran several years prior to the fraudulent policy but later cancelled it. They also told authorities that they did not know the name of the man listed as the beneficiary on the policies.

Cochran also allegedly submitted two additional insurance policies using the couple’s names to LIICA, valued at $100,000 apiece, pushing the combined value of the couple’s fraudulent polices to $400,000.
On Jan. 6, 2005, Cochran reportedly coerced a couple into opening up two $25,000 policies.

According to the affidavit, Cochran told the couple that if they did not purchase the policies he would lose his jobs. Cochran reportedly told the couple that if they paid the premiums, he would pay them back.

The affidavit goes on to say that Cochran wrote two checks to the couple to cover the costs, but they were returned insufficient funds.

The affidavit does not list any other instances of Cochran taking out policies.

The Bank Account Holder
The man whose bank account Cochran reportedly used to make premium payments told investigators that he and his wife took out insurance policies with Cochran "a long time ago."

The man told investigators that he started getting insufficient fund notices from his bank, so he decided to close the account that Cochran was using.

The affidavit goes on to say that the son of the bank account victim knew Cochran and found out that he was allegedly using his dad’s account. The son reportedly called Cochran up telling him to "fix the problem with his parents" or that he would "come straighten him out." The affidavit goes on to say that "after a couple months, Cochran fixed the problem."

Cochran’s Story
Cochran reportedly told investigators that he required two surgeries on his eyes, which caused him to have financial troubles.

Cochran claimed that he had already borrowed thousands of dollars from his former father-in-law, Stanley Spurlock, who owns Avon Insurance Company.

Cochran has been released from the Highlands County Jail on $25,000 bond.

When reached for comment Wednesday, Spurlock denied claims that Cochran was ever an agent with his company and directed calls to his lawyer William Fletcher, of Sebring. Flecther did not return a phone call left to his office.