Oklahoma City – Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland announced the arrest of former insurance agent Richard Wallen by the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit today. Wallen has been charged with two felony counts.
Wallen is accused of defrauding a Wynnewood couple out of more than $40,000 between 2005 and 2007. Wallen had convinced the couple to buy bonds from the Iowa State Bond Trust, which would allegedly yield a return of 24 percent. According to an affidavit, Wallen had created the fictional company even going so far as to create fake bonds and forge the signature of then Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, a name that was misspelled on the bogus documents. Wallen never invested the money and deposited the funds into his personal bank account, according to an Insurance Department order.
“Targeting seniors with this sort of financial fraud is especially egregious and will not be tolerated,” said Commissioner Holland. “The Insurance Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit is working continuously to bring these sorts of scam artists to justice.”
Wallen had convinced the couple to invest an additional $1,800 in a fake oil and gas venture. When the couple began inquiring about their investments and why they were not receiving the promised returns, Wallen attempted to pay the couple $9,600, claiming the money was a return on their initial investment. However, according to an Insurance Department order, Wallen fraudulently misdirected the $9,600 from the annuity of another client, an elderly woman, by using one of her voided checks.
The elderly client’s daughter became suspicious in October 2007 when she noticed that money was inexplicably missing from her mother’s annuity. Her discovery prompted Commissioner Holland to launch an immediate investigation resulting in the revocation of Wallen’s insurance license.
Following an extensive investigation, the Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit referred the case to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office for criminal prosecution. After charges were filed the Anti-Fraud Unit executed the arrest warrant and apprehended Wallen on Monday, August 24, at his home in Oklahoma City.
In 2008, the Insurance Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit investigated more than 440 fraud complaints, referred 77 cases to the Attorney General’s office for criminal prosecution and recovered more than $1.3 million for consumers and insurers.
Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland encourages all consumers to call and confirm that any company offering insurance or insurance-like products is properly licensed to do business in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Insurance Department consumer hotline is (800) 522-0071.