HARRISBURG – Attorney General Tom Corbett Thursday announced that criminal charges were filed against a former Clearfield County insurance agent accused of creating fraudulent cash surrender release forms on the life insurance policies of five clients. The defendant allegedly stole more than $6,000 in the scheme.
Corbett said agents from the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section identified the defendant as John J. Lowe, 55, of Elderton, Armstrong County.
According to the charges, Lowe, between Sept. 19 and Dec. 23, 2003, created false Cash Surrender Release Forms on the Whole Life Insurance policies of five clients from Clearfield and Perry counties.
In order to fraudulently create these forms, Lowe allegedly identified which accounts appeared to be inactive or “dead,” but still had a cash value if they were closed out. The charges claim that he forged the clients’ signatures, closed the accounts out and submitted the forms to the main AIG American General office for payment.
Investigators said that although the checks were made payable to the clients individually, they were addressed and mailed to the attention of Lowe and sent to his office instead of the clients’ home addresses. Management within AIG indicated that this was an irregular business practice and all drafts that were intended for clients should have been mailed directly to their homes.
According to the charges, once Lowe had the fraudulent checks in his possession he then forged each client’s signature and deposited the monies into his personal bank account in Clearfield County.
“Mr. Lowe’s alleged elaborate scheme netted more than $6,000 from unsuspecting clients, which was deposited into his personal bank account,” Corbett said. “The theft was derailed, however, when one client contacted him concerning the missing fund.”
Lowe resigned his position with AIG American General in December 2003.
The defendant is charged with two counts of forgery and one count each of insurance fraud and theft by unlawful taking.
Lowe was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Richard A. Ireland and was released on $25,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday.
The case will be prosecuted in the Clearfield County Court of Common Pleas by Deputy Attorney General John Dickinson of the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section in Harrisburg.