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Friday, July 3, 2009

Ex-Insurance Company Officer Sentenced To Federal Prison For Bad Bonds
Story from New York State Insurance Department

The former chief underwriting officer of a Monticello insurance company was sentenced to 10 years and one month in federal prison Thursday for selling $535 million in fraudulent surety bonds and stealing $22.5 million in premiums instead of turning the money over to insurers.

Judge Marcia Morales Howard handed down the sentence in U.S. District Court in Florida against William Raymond Miller, 37, who pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud in December. The court also ordered a personal money judgment of $22 million against him.

Miller, of Clarksville, MD, has already forfeited $22.5 million to the government, along with real estate in Maryland and Florida.

The sentencing climaxed a case begun when investigators in New York and other states looked into surety bonds Miller sold between 2005 and April 2008. Miller was accused of forging documents and pocketing premiums instead of turning the money over to insurers to issue the bonds for construction projects throughout the United States.

Under a plea agreement with federal authorities, Miller admitted using the names of several corporations to sell the worthless bonds. He made it appear that he was issuing the bonds in the names of legitimate insurers.

The New York State Insurance Department's Frauds Bureau began investigating Miller in early 2008 after he was fired by the Upper Hudson National Insurance Company in Monticello, where he was the company's chief underwriting officer.

The insurer fired Miller and contacted authorities after learning that he had sold a worthless $38 million performance bond purportedly authorized by Upper Hudson. He was accused of keeping the $1.9 million in premiums paid for the bond by a construction company engaged in a project in Nebraska.

Besides the New York investigation, Miller was also investigated by state authorities in Maryland and Florida and the FBI. The New York portion of the investigation also involved the U.S. Postal Service's Inspection Service in Albany.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Russell C. Stoddard and Bonnie A. Glober prosecuted the case.