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Broker Pleads Guilty in Phony Cargo Insurance Scam

May 8, 2015

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In an operation the FBI called "theft and greed on a large scale," a former insurance broker has pleaded guilty to bilking nearly 800 trucking companies out of $3.7 million for phony cargo insurance.

John Paul Kill, the former operator of Appeal Insurance Agency LLC, has pleaded guilty to insurance fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia. Kill collected over $3.7 million from hundreds of companies for fraudulent cargo insurance policies.

“This case was about theft and greed on a large scale," said J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office. "Mr. Kill displayed a complete disregard for his client companies, leaving them legally and fiscally vulnerable while allowing them to believe that they had appropriate insurance coverage."

According to Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn, Kill operated an insurance brokerage firm in Norcross, Georgia, and began offering cargo insurance policies to trucking companies in 2013. Kill falsely told clients that he would bind cargo insurance policies through Lloyd’s of London. In the insurance industry, binding coverage serves as an agreement between the insurance provider and insured parties to provide insurance coverage.

In reality, Kill did not bind any policies with Lloyd’s. Instead, he pocketed the premium payments.

For a small portion of victims, Kill bound cargo insurance policies through a different company that offered less extensive coverage than what the trucking companies thought they purchased through Kill.

Most of the victims received no insurance policies at all, and Kill instead attempted to pay claims for losses out of the premium payments he collected for new policies.

“This defendant swindled hundreds of trucking companies into purchasing phantom cargo insurance policies,” said Horn. “Kill abused his clients’ trust and led many small businesses to operate on our roads unwittingly without proper insurance and put them at risk for catastrophic losses.”

In total, nearly 800 trucking companies located in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia paid approximately $3.75 million in premiums for these fraudulent insurance policies from 2013 through mid-2014.

Sentencing for Kill is scheduled for July 10.

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