NYSID Announces Arrest of Cooperstown Insurance Agent in Fraud Scheme

March 31, 2003

The New York State Insurance Department announced the arrest of Shannon Whiteman of Roseboom, New York, an agent of the Bob Putnam Insurance Agency in Cooperstown, on charges of grand larceny and forgery.

Her arrest follows a joint investigation conducted by the NYSID’s Frauds Bureau, Cooperstown Village Police, and the New York State Police Special Investigation Unit based in Albany, which revealed that Whiteman, while employed by the Agency, allegedly stole policyholder premium money and forged documents relating to insurance.

The allegations include charges that in some cases “she would collect premium from policyholders and then subsequently alter the clients’ policies to reflect credits for defensive driving, or farm use, which lowered their premium. She would keep money paid in cash that would represent the savings for these reductions. The forgery charge relates to documents that Ms. Whiteman prepared noting that traffic tickets she received in the Village of Fultonville, Montgomery County were resolved. She forwarded these documents to Nationwide Insurance in an effort to maintain her own insurance,” said the NYSID bulletin.

“An audit conducted by the staff of the Bob Putnam Agency has revealed that she took approximately $4,784,” it continued. The Agency is making full restitution to the victims, and the NYSID has issued a call for “any New Yorkers who may have questions or concerns about their dealings with Ms. Whiteman or Bob Putnam Insurance Agency to call the Insurance Department at 1-877-371-2504 or 1-888-FRAUD NY.”

Whiteman was placed under arrest and arraigned in the Village of Cooperstown Local Criminal Court where she was released on her own recognizance to reappear on April 23, 2003. If convicted of these charges she faces up to a maximum of 21 years in prison.

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