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Muskegon Insurance Agent Charged with Fraud, Embezzling $17,000 of Clients' Money
February 16, 2021
LANSING – A Muskegon insurance agent has been charged with fraud and embezzling more than $17,000 of his clients’ money, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced today.
Charles Booker, Jr., 63, was arraigned Wednesday in Muskegon County 60th District Court in front of Judge Maria Ladas Hoopes. He is charged with:
- Three counts of embezzlement by an agent or trustee of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000, a felony punishable by five years’ imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine, or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater;
- One count of insurance fraud, a four-year felony and/or a $50,000 fine; and
- Using a computer to commit a crime, which is a felony punishable by seven years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine in this instance.
Booker was given a $25,000 personal recognizance bond.
“This case should serve as another reminder that DIFS and my office will continue to pursue justice on behalf of the many Michigan residents whose finances are not used as they intended or in accordance with the law,” Nessel said. “My office will continue to work alongside DIFS to enforce Michigan regulations and hold accountable those who attempt to violate our laws.”
“DIFS and the Attorney General are working together to aggressively combat insurance fraud, so these con artists would be well-advised to find an honest line of work,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “Protecting consumers from those who violate the public trust is a top priority for DIFS and we will work with the Attorney General to make sure that bad actors are removed from the insurance business and cannot prey on Michigan consumers.”
The Attorney General’s office alleges that between October 2014 and June 2016 Booker collected nearly $17,200 in insurance premiums from 42 clients but failed to remit the premiums to Farmers Insurance. Instead, Booker converted the money to his own use. He also allegedly applied money he collected in premiums from three clients to the policies of several other clients whose premiums he did not remit to the insurer.
Booker is scheduled for a probable cause conference on Feb. 17 and a preliminary examination on Feb. 24.
The newly established DIFS Fraud Investigation Unit investigates criminal and fraudulent activity related to the insurance and financial markets and works with the Attorney General and law enforcement to prosecute these crimes. Suspected insurance fraud can be reported to DIFS safely, easily and, in most cases, anonymously by calling 877-999-6442 or online by visiting the department’s website.
For more about Michigan’s new auto insurance law, DIFS has additional information on its website.
Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.