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Investigation yields guilty plea in insurance fraud case

April 16, 2008

Investigation yields guilty plea in insurance fraud case

Mazeppa woman embezzled $259,000 from local insurance company.

(St. Paul, MN) - The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced today that as a result of a joint investigation with the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Wanda Jane Schafer, a licensed insurance agent, pleaded guilty this week in federal court to one count of insurance fraud in connection with embezzling approximately $259,000 from her employer.

According to her plea agreement, Schafer became manager of the Gillford Mutual Fire Insurance Co. of Lake City in 2000 and the acting agent for the Gillford Agency, a related insurance entity in February 2001. The two insurance entities either issued or sold property, auto, business, wind and fire policies.

From November 2002 to October 2006, Schafer embezzled and misappropriated approximately $259,000 belonging to Gillford. The plea agreement also states that the embezzlement did not jeopardize the safety and soundness of the insurance companies.

Schafer consented to a revocation of her Minnesota Resident Insurance Producer license as part of the plea agreement. She faces a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. U.S. District Court Richard Judge Kyle will determine Schafer's sentence at a future date.