Washington Insurance Agent Who Sold Fake Policies Sentenced

October 7, 2011

An insurance agent who sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in fake business-insurance policies has been sentenced to more than two years in prison and ordered to pay back $532,659 in restitution.

Brenda MacLaren-Beattie, 68, of Des Moines, Wash., was sentenced on Thursday in King County Superior Court to 26 months in prison and was taken into custody.

An investigation found that from late 2001 through 2009, MacLaren-Beattie 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, often issuing counterfeit certificates of insurance to doctors and clinics. Her insurance license expired in 2009.

In a few cases – a lost camera, some water damage – she paid out small insurance claims herself. 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, coverage that typically includes slip-and-fall accidents, employee theft, damage to rented property.

“This agent sold fictitious coverage to dozens of medical offices in Washington and Oregon, often for years,” Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in a statement. “People thought they had coverage and they didn’t.”

MacLaren-Beattie pleaded guilty in August to eight counts of first-degree theft, a felony. On Thursday, she received eight 26-month sentences, which will run concurrently.

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