Hearing Set in Insurance Fraud Case Against Former Kansas Agent

July 17, 2014

A federal judge will hear arguments on whether to dismiss the bulk of a wide-ranging indictment accusing a former Kansas insurance agent with stealing nearly $2 million from policyholders.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten set a July 28 date for a hearing in the case of Jason Matthew Pennington.

His attorney wants the court to throw out 38 counts related to one of the alleged victims, Marlene Brown, a Wichita teacher and philanthropist who died in 2009 at age 75.

Pennington 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 Brown’s trust and estate.

The Kansas Insurance Department order of suspension alleged, among other things, that 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.

Defense attorney Kari Schmidt argued in a court filing that her client was the actual owner of the property and money at issue in the indictment.

Pennington’s father, James L. Pennington, pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return. The elder Pennington will be sentenced Oct. 6.