Two Plead Guilty To Defrauding Metlife Subsidiary

January 9, 2001

Two former Metlife subsidiary executives have confessed to swindling the company of $2.4 million. Howard Dale Kartchner, 55, and Jeffrey K. McLean, 49, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Spokane, Wash. to mail fraud and conspiracy. They both face 46 to 57 months in federal prison when they are sentenced March 30. They also will settle a civil lawsuit by MetLife by repaying $2.4 million.

Kartchner, of Houston, and McLean, of Wenatchee, Wash., confessed to setting up dummy companies and submitting phony bills that were paid by MetLife subsidiary companies. MetLife contends in its civil suit that it lost more than $3 million, but prosecutors said they had evidence only to prove the lower amount, had the case gone to trial. Kartchner and McLean were executives with Transmountain Land and Livestock Co., an investment department of MetLife of Kansas City, Mo. An audit disclosed a series of fraudulent payments, beginning in January 1995, a criminal complaint contends.

According to an Associated Press report, the court document says the two executives submitted false financial reports to MetLife, through its Agricultural Investments Department, which oversaw Johnny Appleseed of Washington and CRO Fruit. The two men set up dummy companies and submitted fraudulent bills for goods and services to Johnny Appleseed and CRO Fruit, and diverted other assets.

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