Man who sold $453K in fake Arizona insurance policies draws prison sentence
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A man who sold fake insurance policies to Phoenix-area businesses to the tune of $453,000 was sentenced to prison on Tuesday, state officials said.
Brian McFarland was sentenced to 3½ years in prison, along with 7 years of probation after he sold fake insurance policies to commercial environmental businesses, according to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
McFarland also was ordered to pay full restitution to the victims, the office said.
Officials said the Arizona Department of Insurance Fraud Unit, in a joint effort with the New Jersey Department of Insurance, arrested McFarland in 2016. He was charged with fraudulent schemes, identity theft and theft.
The Attorney General’s Office said McFarland forged his name onto the license of another insurance agent who had the same last name. He used the license and stolen identity to sell insurance under the name Legends Environmental Insurance Services, a legitimate company in California that he had worked for.
Once McFarland had the fraudulent license, he set up a bank account under the agency’s name, without its knowledge and diverted his clients’ payments into it, according to the state attorney general.
McFarland defrauded around 87 companies throughout the Phoenix area, officials said. They paid for insurance policies, but never actually had insurance, the Attorney General’s Office said.
His fraud started to come apart after Legends merged with another company and background checks were conducted on all employees. It was found McFarland had been selling policies without a license, which launched a broader investigation and led to McFarland admitting some aspects of what he had done.
He ended up moving to New Jersey pursuing unrelated jobs, but New Jersey officials worked with Arizona investigators as they continued investigating what turned to be a more extensive fraud scheme, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office said.
McFarland was arrested and indicted in October 2016 in Gloucester County, N.J.
He was charged with 92 counts of fraud and theft, although he ended up pleading guilty to fewer charges once back in Arizona to face prosecution.
McFarland pleaded guilty to one count of fraudulent schemes and two counts of theft in December 2017.
McFarland had worked for Legends for more than 10 years, according to former owner Bill Lohman.
“He wrote bogus policies on everyone … He could have wiped out companies. He could have wiped out lives,” Lohman said.