Washington State Agent Pleads to Bilking Doctors

August 4, 2011

Brenda MacLaren-Beattie, a longtime insurance agent in Des Moines, Wash., has pleaded guilty to first-degree theft for selling fake insurance to oral surgeons in two states.

An investigation by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s office found that MacLaren-Beattie, 67, sold thousands of dollars in fake business-insurance policies, often issuing counterfeit certificates of insurance to doctors and clinics.

“This is exactly why we have insurance laws: To make sure that people get the coverage they’re paying for,” said Kreidler. “These customers were paying thousands of dollars for a worthless piece of paper.”

MacLaren-Beattie pleaded guilty Tuesday in King County Superior Court to eight counts of first-degree theft, a felony.

An investigation by Kreidler’s Investigations Unit found that from late 2001 through 2009, she issued fake insurance to 25 oral surgeons in Washington and 16 in Oregon. During that time, she is believed to have collected more than $532,000 in premiums for fictitious insurance policies. Her insurance license expired in 2009.

In some cases – a lost camera, some water damage – she paid out small insurance claims. One of her clients became suspicious after a claim check was issued by MacLaren-Beattie, rather than from an insurance company.

The fictitious policies were for business owners’ general liability insurance.

Sentencing in King County Superior Court is expected later this month.

Source: Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

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