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For Immediate Release
February 2, 2004
Media Contact: 410-576-6357

TOWSON INSURANCE AGENT SENTENCED FOR FELONY THEFT AND INSURANCE FRAUD

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Michelle Lyons Baker, 37, former partner and minority owner of Towson-based National Insurance Services, was sentenced after having pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court of Baltimore County in October to committing felony insurance fraud and stealing over $542,939.00 from various premium finance companies.

The Honorable Lawrence R. Daniels sentenced Baker to three years' incarceration, suspended that sentence and placed Baker on 10 years' supervised probation. She was ordered to perform 2,000 hours of community service and pay $542,939 in restitution. Baker's former partner, Alfred Murray Slattery, was sentenced to 18 months' incarceration in October for his part in the theft scheme. Both convictions follow a joint investigation conducted by the Insurance Fraud Division of the Maryland Insurance Administration and the Office of the Attorney General.

In a statement of facts presented by the prosecutor at the time of the guilty plea, the Court learned that, between January of 2000 and October of 2001, Baker and Slattery created numerous fraudulent and/or fictitious insurance policies and instituted premium finance agreements on these policies. In these instances, they often used legitimate company names but forged signatures to obtain illegitimate premium finance agreements. They then would use phony addresses so that individuals whose names were being used on these policies would not receive any documentation regarding them. In other instances, Baker and Slattery would receive premium payments in full from a customer but not remit these payments to the respective insurance company. They would then also institute a premium finance agreement without the insured's knowledge.

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