Albert Lawrence, the 72-year-old former owner of the New York-based Lawrence Group Inc., was sentenced to three years in federal prison for stealing $37 million from insurers, policyholders, employees and the federal government. Lawrence must also pay back the $37 million in monthly installments.
Lawrence had been convicted in June 2000 on 20 counts of wire and mail fraud, embezzlement of insurance company assets and pension funds, and tax evasion.
The jury decided that Lawrence defrauded policyholders of United Community Insurance Co. and others by using company assets to lend $5 million to First Commercial Credit Corp. in December 1993 and to lend $27 million to Alpha Trust in January 1994. The $27 million was then loaned by Alpha Trust to the Lawrence Group, and was used to pay off a $26.4 million debt that Lawrence owed to several banks. The Lawrence Group defaulted on the loans in October 1996.
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