Life insurance agent booked with theft

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 7, 2004

By Marie Ory Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Christopher Anthony Poche, 30, of 459 Yetta Ave. in Harvey. was arrested and issued a Cease and Desist Order Tuesday for allegedly misappropriating insurance funds.

Poche, whose office is located at 1036 W. Airline Highway, LaPlace, was also served with a summary suspension of his life and health insurance license at the time of his arrest.

The State Police Fraud unit apprehended him on 183 counts of unfair trade practices and premium theft.

According to the department of Insurance Cease and Desist Order, Poche is said to have misappropriated insurance premiums of almost $13,000, only some of which have been recovered. According to authorities, Poche is prohibited from participating in any activity relating to insurance business, and will be subject to fines and other penalties.

Initial cause for investigation was due to an inquiry that showed up during an audit of the company. as well as through some consumers who had expressed their concerns.

Records from the Department of Insurance show Poche’s license history. He held a life and health insurance license from November 1995 until Tuesday’s arrest. Poche also held a property and casualty license from 1995 through May 1, 2001.

Commissioner of Insurance Robert Wooley said his office will continue to investigate instances of insurance fraud when and where they find them.

“Consumers can help us tremendously in our efforts to stamp out fraud in Louisiana. They are one of our best sources of information about all types of insurance fraud,” he said. “I urge consumers who feel uneasy about any insurance-related transactions, including fraudulent claims filed by other consumers, to call the Fraud Unit here at the Department of Insurance. If callers to not want their names used, they can request that their involvement be kept confidential.”

Wooley also said insurance company officials who suspect or know about instances of fraud are required by law to report it to the Department of Insurance.

Consumers who have paid life insurance premiums to, or conducted other insurance business with Poche should call the insurance company to verify that they have the coverage they think they paid for.

“It is easy to lose track of what you have paid, especially with a life insurance or other kind of policy that does not require you to be in contact with the company on a regular basis. People should check with their company for the status of their insurance policy or policies, even if it has been several years since they transacted business with Mr. Poche” Wooley said.