Former Louisiana Insurance Agent Gets 5 Years in Fraud Case

May 20, 2013

A 35-year-old Denham Springs, La., man has been sentenced in Baton Rouge federal court to nearly five years in prison and ordered to pay two life insurance companies more than $1.4 million for frauds he committed against them.

The Advocate reports Timothy R. Schlatre must report to prison on June 24 to begin serving his 57-month sentence for one count each of mail fraud and money laundering.

Six other Livingston Parish residents pleaded guilty in the case earlier.

Schlatre was identified by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rene I. Salomon as the organizer of the scheme that bilked New York Life and Lincoln Financial of a combined total in excess of $1.4 million. Schlatre was an insurance agent for both firms.

Ian F. Hipwell, an attorney for Schlatre, asked U.S. District Judge James J. Brady to sentence his client to three years in prison, nearly three years less than the guideline minimum of 57 months.

“He (Schlatre) has truly turned his life around,” Hipwell told the judge.

“What is your suggestion?” Brady asked Salomon, the prosecutor.

“To follow the law,” Salomon replied, before asking that Schlatre be sentenced to between 57 months and 71 months in federal prison.

“I’m not a bad person,” Schlatre told Brady. “I made some bad choices. I’m very sorry. ”

Schlatre admitted he had customers inflate their financial statements in order to qualify them for life insurance policies for which he received more than $1.4 million in commissions.

He shared some of that money with the customers, who either paid policy premiums with insufficiently funded checks or stopped payment on checks that were adequately funded.

Six of those customers pleaded guilty earlier to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Ricky J. Austin, 49, of Denham Springs, has not yet been sentenced.

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