Retired NC insurance agents targeted senior citizens in multi-million dollar scam

Retired NC insurance agents targeted senior citizens in multi-million dollar scam

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - The NC Department of Insurance announced Wednesday that two retired insurance agents were convicted of targeting senior citizens as part of a multi-million dollar scam that spanned seven years.

Milton Hooks, 72, of Rocky Mount and James Mangum, 69, of Tarboro scammed nearly 80 victims out of $11 million from 2004 to 2011.

The pair convinced victims to remove money from their 401K accounts and life insurance policies and put the money into an annuity product known as a "Fixed Indexed Annuity."

Hooks and Mangum used their credibility as fiduciaries to move the $11 million into various annuity accounts with three companies that sold these products and garnered over $620,000 in commission payments.

Investigators also discovered that the men convinced four victims to make individual $316,000 investments which they directly diverted into their bank accounts and laundered the money for their own personal use.

The scam involved victims from 14 counties which included Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Chowan, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Halifax, Hertford, Hoke, Martin, Mecklenburg, Robeson, Wake, and Washington.

Hooks and Mangum were convicted of six counts of obtaining property by false pretenses and were ordered to repay the victims in each case.

The men will not face any jail time. The judge dismissed 100 counts of obtaining property by false pretense and gave the pair suspended sentences because of the restitution.

"Preying on our senior citizens is wrong," Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said. "I am pleased NCDOI criminal investigators were able to recover nearly $11 million in this important case that hopefully will help deter white collar crime like this in North Carolina."

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