A former Lubbock, Texas, insurance agent has been sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay back $810,000 to his victims, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) reported.
Officers with the Texas Department of Insurance Fraud Unit found that Joseph Allen Gaines persuaded senior citizens in West Texas to purchase annuities, but then kept the money for himself.
Gaines came to the attention of TDI and the Lubbock Police Department when a 94-year-old woman’s family called an insurance company to confirm her $700,000 investment. They were told there was no policy in their mother’s name.
When Gaines was arrested in July 2016, TDI Sergeant Steve Richardson said Gaines “had been a financial advisor for this woman’s family for decades” and took advantage of her trust.
TDI’s investigation also identified other victims of the scheme. Gaines was charged with felonies in Swisher, Wilbarger, and Howard counties. Several of Gaines victims testified at the sentencing in Swisher County.