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Five state insurance departments sue Martin Frankel for $200 million

Read the lawsuit filed against Martin Frankel by five insurance comissioners on the Mississippi Department of Insurance Web site. (Adobe Acrobat Reader required.)

Martin Frankel, the rogue financier who allegedly bilked millions of dollars from several insurance companies in an embezzlement scheme, has been sued by five state insurance comissioners.

The lawsuit, filed May 9 in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Miss., seeks to recover at least $200 million in damages from Frankel after he allegedly embezzled money from seven insurance companies that were eventually forced to liquidate assets to pay off debts.

Named as plaintiffs in the suit are insurance commissioners Mike Pickens (Arkansas), George Dale (Mississippi), Keith Wenzel (Missouri), Carroll Fisher (Oklahoma), and Anne Pope (Tennessee). The defendants listed include Frankel and his various aliases (such as Robert Guyer, Martin King, William Kok, and David Ross), several of his business associates (including Gary Atnip, John Hackney, Phillip Miller, David Rosse, and Karen Timmins) and several business entities Frankel allegedly used to defraud insurers (including American Life Acquisitions, Bloomfield Investments, Liberty National Securities, and Thurnor Trust).

Companies declared insolvent as a result of the Frankel scandal, according to the lawsuit:
Old Southwest Life Insurance Co.
Franklin Protective Life Insurance Co.
Family Guaranty Life Insurance Co.
First National Life Co. of America

International Services Life Insurance Co.

Farmers and Ranchers Life Insurance Co.
Franklin American Life Insurance Co.

Frankel, who already faces federal charges of wire fraud, money laundering, securities fraud, racketeering, and conspiracy to commit racketeering, is currently incarcerated in a Hamburg, Germany, jail awaiting extradition to the U.S. Law enforcement officials tracked down and arrested Frankel in a German hotel on Sept. 4, 1999.

The suit alleges Frankel and his accomplices transferred insurance company assets they were supposedly managing under the guise of a securities brokerage, Liberty National Securities Inc., into several untraceable bank accounts. The assets were "misappropriated by . . . Frankel for his own personal use and enjoyment, and for the benefit of his associates," according to the suit.

The suit, which was filed under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), cites more than 25 cases of mail and wire fraud over a seven-year period dating back to 1993.

Fisher, Oklahoma's insurance commissioner, says investigators will continue to look for others who were involved in the scandal. "We are casting a wide net in our investigation," he says. "We will continue to gather proof as to who, besides these defendants, worked with Frankel."

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