September 8 – A federal grand jury has indicted a Decatur man who worked as an independent insurance agent for fraud.
60-year-old James P. Smith, of the 5400 block of Traughber Road, has been charged with fraud after allegedly exposing clients to a potential loss of more than $250,000 from February 2011 to July 2016.
Smith is currently in custody on charges filed by the Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office. According to the indictment, from at least February 2011 through July 2016, Smith was employed in Decatur as an independent agent. Smith solicited clients to buy insurance, and financial products, including annuities.
As part of his scheme, Smith would falsely represent the minimum rate of return the annuities could obtain for his clients. Instead of investing his clients’ money in insurance or annuities, Smith would allegedly use the money for his own benefit. Smith would ask clients to make payments out to MSM Inc., which was the gas station “Main Street Marathon” in Mt. Zion that Smith owned.
Smith would use his clients’ money to finance his gas station without his clients’ knowledge. He would use the money for mortgage payments, his personal insurance payments, and his personal bankruptcy fees, among other things.
If convicted, the maximum penalty for each count of mail fraud (2 counts) and wire fraud (1 count) is 20 years in prison, and a fine up to $250,000. The maximum penalty for the offense of money laundering (1 count) is 20 years in prison, and a fine up to $500,000.
The Department of Justice reminds you that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.