Trial Expected in Ex-Kansas Insurance Agent Theft Case

June 30, 2014

The attorney for a former Kansas insurance agent accused of stealing nearly $2 million from policyholders says the case is expected to go to trial.

Kari Schmidt said her client, Jason Matthew Pennington, has not reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors. He is charged with 47 counts that include wire and mail fraud and money laundering.

Kansas regulators in July 2010 suspended the license of Pennington, a former State Farm insurance agent after the FBI started looking into his handling of the trust and estate of retired Wichita teacher Marlene Brown, who died the previous year at age 75.

In the order suspending Pennington’s license, the Kansas Insurance Department alleged Pennington deposited the proceeds of a million-dollar life insurance from her trust into his own accounts. He also is accused of keeping for himself a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth valued at $100,000.

Pennington was an agent for various State Farm insurance companies from 2000 to 2010.

Schmidt says she believes his case will be going to trial in August.

Pennington’s father, James L. Pennington, is also charged. A court notation listed a change-of-plea hearing for the father July 14.

The elder Pennington is charged with four counts of filing a false tax return. His attorney declined comment.

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