|Updated: 11/07/2012 2:43 pm
||Published: 11/07/2012 1:24 pm
The Oklahoma Insurance Department announced on Tuesday that former insurance agent Marshall Virden has been sentenced to two years in prison for defrauding senior citizens in Wagoner County.
The punishment comes after a lengthy investigation by the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID).
"Our Anti-Fraud Unit worked diligently to bring to light the full scope of Virden's criminal activity in the state of Oklahoma," said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak, who has made exploitation of the elderly a focus of his administration. "This heartbreaking crime cost several Oklahomans their life savings."
Virden pled guilty to one felony count of exploitation of elderly. He received a ten year sentence with eight years suspended. He was also given credit for time served. District Attorney Brian Kuester said, "We are happy to get justice in this case. Mr. Virden received the maximum sentence, which includes prison time and probation, allowing the victims a chance to receive restitution."
OID investigators discovered Virden held investment seminars across the state. He would then convince these unsuspecting "customers" to cash in their life insurance and annuity products in exchange for precious metals such as gold and silver. Victims later learned that their investments were fraudulent and that Virden had fled the state. Thanks to the efforts of the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office and U.S. Marshals Service, he was eventually arrested in Florida.
"This sentence is just the beginning," said Doak. "Virden faces charges in two other counties, and we believe there are more victims who haven't come forward. We encourage them to do so. We are determined to protect every Oklahoma senior against insurance fraud."
Potential victims are encouraged to call the OID's Anti-Fraud Unit at 405-521-6614.