You might take it for granted, but when you need it, health insurance could save the day. And insurance sits at the center of a crime that has a Springfield couple now facing federal charges.
"This is a nationwide scheme. It involves multiple states," said Acting United States Attorney David Rivera.
A federal grand jury just indicted Bart Sidney Posey Sr. and Angela Slavey Posey - each 46 years old - in a lengthy 57-count indictment.
Charges include conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, embezzlement from a health care plan and money laundering.
"These are victims that paid out premiums expecting that when they became sick, when they became ill, when they became injured," Rivera said, "that these insurance companies that were operated by the defendants would be there to pay those legitimate claims."
But according to investigators, the scheme went on for years and the Poseys used telemarketers to recruit more than 17,000 customers.
In total, they allegedly collected more than $28 million in premiums under several different names but rarely - if ever - paid out a claim.
Bank records indicate the defendants allegedly took more than $5.4 million for personal use.
"They targeted not only individuals but also companies that would have employees that needed healthcare," said Deputy Criminal Chief John Webb.
Investigators said those in charge succeeded by avoiding regulation.
Whenever warned to stop by states, investigators said the operation would pack up and move to a new state.
Now, federal charges could mean prison for the Poseys.
But it will not, it seems, mean payback for those who invested and got ripped-off in return.
"Does this happen a lot? I would hope that it doesn't happen a lot, especially to this magnitude," Rivera said.
Also indicted in the alleged scheme were William M. Worthy II, 50, of Isle of Palms, SC, and Richard Hall Bachman, 65, of Austin, TX.
If convicted, the suspects face up to 20 years in prison on the wire and mail fraud counts; 10 years in prison on the health care embezzlement and money laundering counts; and five years in prison on the conspiracy counts; and a $250,000 fine per count.
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