Former California Agent Charged with Scamming Elderly Church Members

April 20, 2015

Constance Gail Fortune, 61, was arraigned in Los Angeles Superior Court in California in April and charged with three felony counts of grand theft and one felony count of financial elder abuse for allegedly scamming seniors, many of whom were members of First AME Church, out of more than $100,000.

California Department of Insurance investigators uncovered evidence that Fortune, a licensed agent at the time, sold homeowners, auto and life insurance policies to numerous consumers, but never actually purchased policies and stole their premiums.

Fortune’s alleged illegal activities occurred over a two-year period and left consumers with no coverage and at considerable financial risk, according to investigators.

Fortune, an employee, trustee and former spokesperson for First AME Church, allegedly hosted meetings and met with fellow church members and others to market insurance products. She fabricated bogus insurance documents on official insurance company letterhead in an effort to give consumers the appearance that the policies were legitimate, and then Fortune used consumers’ premiums to pay for her personal expenses, including lease payments for her insurance office and rent for her apartment, according to investigators.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Elder Abuse Unit is prosecuting the case. This case is being investigated and prosecuted under the Life and Annuity Consumer Protection Program.

Fortune was arrested on April 8 and was arraigned at the Superior Court of Los Angeles on Aril 10. Her court date is set for May 4.

Fortune faces up to five years in state prison if convicted.

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Insurance Journal West April 20, 2015
April 20, 2015
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