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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Harford County Woman Convicted of Felony Theft

BALTIMORE, MD ( March 18, 2010) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Gwendolyn Austin, 48, of Churchville, has been sentenced on a single count of felony theft. Harford County Circuit Court Judge William O. Carr imposed a three year suspended sentence, three years probation, and 150 hours of community service.

From February 2007 through April 2007, Austin, a licensed insurance agent, forged seven life insurance applications on behalf of people who had previously done business with her husband Ronald Austin, also an insurance agent. None of the applications were authorized or signed by the named applicants. Shenandoah Life Insurance Company issued life insurance policies in the names of the seven people and paid Austin approximately $4,400 in commissions on these fraudulent policies. Each policy then lapsed because the monthly premiums were not paid by the applicants, who were unaware that such policies had been issued in their names. Shenandoah Life conducted an investigation after one of the policies was canceled. Austin’s license to sell insurance has been revoked by the Maryland Insurance Administration.

The conviction follows a joint investigation by the Insurance Fraud Division of the Maryland Insurance Administration, the Maryland State Police and the Office of the Attorney General. In making today’s announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Harris for handling the case.


   

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