Canadian Underwriter

New York seeks extradition of Canadian charged with insurance fraud

May 24, 2006   by Canadian Underwriter

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The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York has announced the arrest on May 5, 2006, in Canada of Ian Stuart, following the investigation of a massive, $7-million insurance fraud scheme.
Stuart, also known as “John Harris” and “John Harrington,” is currently detained in Canada and the United States is pursuing his extradition.
A press release issued by the attorney general’s office notes that, according to the indictment, “Stuart induced various entities throughout the United States and Canada to purchase through their insurance agents over $7 million of fraudulent commercial liability insurance policies.”
The indictment contains allegations that have not been proven in court.
In its press release, the attorney general’s office says: “According to the indictment, Stuart operated purported insurance brokerages called Surplus Lines, Inc., Heritage, Inc. [also known as Heritage International, Inc. and Heritage Agency, Inc.], and Rupertsland Insurance Intermediaries, Ltd. [also known as Rupertsland Intermediaries, Ltd. and Rupersland], which were located in [name withheld] and Ontario, Canada.
“Stuart held himself out to insurance brokers as a wholesale insurance broker able to place insurance coverage without being registered as required under law and falsely held himself out as an authorized agent for various insurance companies or entities, including underwriters at Lloyd’s of London, Great American Insurance Co., Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Company, Indian Harbor, Colony Insurance, Tower Insurance, Traveler’s Insurance, Houston Casualty, Essex Insurance Company, and Markel Insurance.”
Again citing the indictment, the attorney general’s office says that “in connection with this scheme, Stuart collected for himself premium payments for the commercial liability insurance policies purportedly placed with various insurance companies and entities and created fictitious documents purporting to confirm the existence of insurance coverage.
“Stuart unlawfully obtained over $7 million in policy premiums through this fraud.”
The indictment charges Stuart, 46, with 10 counts of mail fraud and 10 counts of wire fraud. If convicted, Stuart faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail for each wire and mail fraud count. In addition, each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the crime.
The New York attorney general’s office praised the RCMP for their assistance in the investigation of the case.