Woman Pleads Not Guilty in Frankel Case

February 26, 2001

A North Carolina woman has pleaded not guilty to charges she helped Martin Frankel bilk insurance companies of more than $200 million.

Sonia Howe, 41, of Charlotte, N.C., was arraigned in a New Haven Howe is described by prosecutors as Frankel’s No. 2 person. She was arrested Jan. 30 and has been held in North Carolina without bond since then.

Federal prosecutors charge that while Howe was employed as a trustee of Thunor Trust, she helped Frankel make 15 illegal wire transfers of stolen insurance funds valued at more than $185 million.

Authorities say the money was from domestic brokerage accounts controlled by Frankel and was transferred to his bank account in Switzerland. The indictment says Howe was instrumental in the operation of Frankel’s suspected fraud by issuing bogus monthly statements and confirmation slips.

The documents falsely informed insurance companies that their assets were invested profitably in government bonds and other securities, the indictment says.

Frankel, who fled the country last year, is still awaiting extradition from Germany.

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