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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357

Baltimore City Man Convicted of Felony Theft

BALTIMORE, MD ( April 5, 2010) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Auric Zygala, 34, of Baltimore City, has been sentenced on two counts of felony theft. Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge John Grason Turnbull, II imposed a five year sentence, suspending all but 18 months to the Division of Corrections, and ordered five years supervised probation, and $52,492.61 in restitution to Banc of America Investment Services.

The investigation revealed that from July 2008 until December 2008, Zygala, a licensed producer for Banc of America, forged eight Hartford Life Insurance Company annuity surrender request forms and transferred a total of $60,000 from two annuity accounts into his personal checking account with Bank of America.

Mr. William Smith, 80, contacted The Hartford when he noticed that money had been withdrawn from his annuity account without his authorization. The Hartford reviewed all of its annuity contracts and found another account with questionable activity. Wire transfers had been made from the annuity account of Mr. Richard Hutchason, 66, and monies from his account were transferred to the same questionable account. When Mr. Hutchason was contacted, he said that he had not authorized the transfer.. Additionally, it was discovered that both annuities had been sold by Zygala. The Hartford notified Banc of America of its findings.

Further investigation revealed that Zygala had sold the annuities to Mr. Smith and Mr. Richard Hutchason and subsequently forged their signatures requesting money transfers from their annuity accounts into his personal checking account with Bank of America. Zygala admitted to forging the surrender request forms, mailing the forms to The Hartford and having the monies wired to his personal account. Zygala transferred $16,000 from Mr. Smith’s annuity and $44,000 from Mr. Hutchason’s annuity, which Banc of America replaced once the thefts were discovered.

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 Roberta Siskind for her work on the case.



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