Former Md. insurance agent sentenced to federal prison for fraud

A former Maryland insurance agent and financial planner was sentenced to five years in federal prison Wednesday for wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud clients of more than $2.8 million.

Jonathan Williams, 48, of Boston, was an insurance agent with New York Life between February 2006 and March 2015, according to a news release. Williams was licensed to sell life insurance in Maryland, but was only authorized to sell New York Life-related products and provide financial planning through a company affiliate.

As part of a plea agreement, Williams admitted that — between 2009 and 2015 — he directed customers to pay money to entities with bank accounts he controlled. In doing so, Williams fraudulently obtained $2.8 million.

Williams then used those funds to make cash withdrawals, pay personal expenses, pay employees and take vacations.

One victim lost more than $350,000.

When company officials questioned his financial transactions with New York Life customers, Williams provided phony bank records. He lost his license to sell insurance in May 2015, but continued to mislead customers. In July 2016, Williams told one client he was leaving New York Life to work for another company.

New York Life fired Williams and paid to settle with the victims who suffered losses from his fraud.

U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Williams to 57 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He will also be forced to forfeit and pay restitution of the $2.8 million.

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