Pennsylvania Insurance Agents Accused of Stealing $1M

January 8, 2010

Two Pennsylvania insurance agents accused of stealing more than $1 million that was supposed to pay for workers’ compensation and liability insurance for six Berks County public school districts, have been arrested by agents from the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud unit.

Kevin John Pickell, 52, of Blue Bell, and his cousin, Robert Francis Pickell, 43, of Collegeville, were partners in KDN Lanchester Corp., an insurance brokerage business located in Spring Township.

“Over the past two years, Kevin and Robert Pickell and their business were paid more than $1 million, which was supposed to pay for insurance policies for the Conrad Weiser, Daniel Boone, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Schuylkill Valley and Wyomissing Area School Districts,” Corbett said. “Instead, the Pickells allegedly took the money for their own use – obtaining luxury cars for themselves and their spouses; having expensive wine and other items delivered to their business; writing checks for thousands of dollars in personal items and making large payments to themselves and other family members.”

Corbett said the school districts’ insurance premium payments, which ranged in size from $102,668 to $361,260, were deposited into KDN bank accounts, and were supposed to be forwarded to the School Boards Insurance Co.

Instead of forwarding the premium payments to the insurance company, Kevin Pickell allegedly wrote checks totaling at least $330,000 for various personal items, including payments totaling $215,000 to himself and $53,000 to his wife. Robert Pickell allegedly wrote checks totaling more than $140,000 for personal items and expenses.

“Because the schools are all publicly funded, the true victims in this case are the taxpayers who live in those communities,” Corbett said. “As part of this alleged conspiracy, a total of $839,166 in insurance premium payments were illegally diverted, along with $191,247 in commissions that were improperly paid for insurance policies that did not exist.”

According to the criminal complaint, the investigation also resulted in the discovery and seizure of several vials containing anabolic steroids allegedly belonging to Kevin and Robert Pickell. The steroids, along with a quantity of unused syringes, were located during an October 7, 2009 search of the KDN Lanchester Corp. offices.

The two men were arraigned on Wednesday, and released on $50,000 bail.

Kevin Pickell is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, both first-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 fines; along with six counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of insurance fraud, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines. He is also charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Robert Pickell is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, both first-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 fines; along with six counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of insurance fraud, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines. He is also charged with one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

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Source: Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office

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