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ATTORNEY GENERAL THURBERT BAKER ANNOUNCES CONVICTION IN MAJOR SAVANNAH INSURANCE FRAUD CASE

PRESS ADVISORY

ATTORNEY GENERAL THURBERT BAKER ANNOUNCES CONVICTION IN MAJOR SAVANNAH INSURANCE FRAUD CASE

September 3, 2000

Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today that a Chatham County Superior Court jury convicted James L. Burnsed of Pembroke, Georgia of 22 counts of insurance fraud. After the Chatham County conviction, Mr. Burnsed agreed to plead guilty to 83 counts of insurance fraud that were pending against him in Tattnall County. Mr. Burnsed was sentenced today to 10 years in prison, to be followed by 10 years on probation. He must also pay approximately $40,000 in restitution. Counsel to the Attorney General Mike Hobbs and Assistant Attorney General Cassandra Schansman prosecuted the case.

Mr. Burnsed incorporated Selective Foundation Corporation in Delaware. He then sold insurance policies from this company in Georgia, despite not having a certificate of authority from the Insurance Commissioner in either Georgia or Delaware. He also did not maintain the reserves required by Georgia law of an insurance company doing business in this state, nor did he make the required deposit with the Georgia Insurance Commissioner. Instead, Mr. Burnsed used premium payments from some customers to pay claims made by other customers. A large percentage of Mr. Burnsed’s victims were elderly.

“When I believe a person is defrauding Georgians, especially the elderly, I will thoroughly investigate and vigorously prosecute him,” Baker said. “We hope to send a strong message in Georgia that we take protecting our consumers seriously,” he continued.