Bixby man pleads guilty to wire fraud charge

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Updated: 4/11/2013 5:29 pm Published: 4/11/2013 5:27 pm

A Bixby business owner pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge that resulted from an investigation by the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit.

Christopher Bland, 36, was arrested in January with the assistance of the FBI and Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The arrest came after OID investigators discovered Bland was taking commissions earned by insurance agents working for his company.

“Thanks to the hard work by our Anti-Fraud Unit and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Bland will literally have to pay for his crimes,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak. “We are proud of the partnerships OID has with law enforcement across the state that allows us to put criminals out of business and make them face justice.”

Bland admitted in his plea agreement on Wednesday to a scheme to defraud Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Co., various insurance agents in his offices and a local bank by taking commissions illegally and by opening bank accounts for agents without their authorization. He pleaded guilty to one of 14 counts of wire fraud, but agreed to pay restitution for the other offenses, including 12 counts of lying to a financial institution.

The plea agreement requests Bland receive five years of probation, including eight to 14 months of home detention. Bland would also be expected to perform 80 hours of community service and forfeit his insurance license to the state of Oklahoma. He must also agree to never apply for an insurance license from another state. Sentencing is scheduled for July 11.

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