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Lake Charles Insurance Agent 's Licenses Suspended for Alleged Misappropriation of Premiums and Theft

Lake Charles - A Lake Charles insurance agent's licenses were suspended today for misappropriation of insurance funds, forgery and theft, said Acting Insurance Commissioner J. Robert Wooley.

Calvin Caesar, Sr., 46, business address 706 E. School Street, Lake Charles, is accused of participating in a number of cases of insurance fraud. Louisiana State Police West District detectives from Lake Charles made the arrest. In conjunction with this action, Louisiana Department of Insurance fraud investigation officials served Mr. Caesar with a Summary Suspension of his insurance licenses and a Cease and Desist Order forbidding him from conducting any activity involving the business of insurance.

Mr. Caesar, an agent for American General Insurance Company, allegedly collected money from members of his church for insurance premiums and misappropriated portions of the premiums that should have been deposited in the insurance company account. He then allegedly wrote checks from church bank accounts to cover the missing monies. The investigation leading to today's action was a cooperative effort of the Department of Insurance and Louisiana State Police, Acting Commissioner Wooley said.

"The investigation is continuing in this case," said Wooley. "People who bought insurance from Mr. Caesar should contact the insurance company right away if they have not already done so," he said. "Policyholders should find a toll-free number for the company listed on the face of the insurance policy," he said.

Today's arrest was the result of an insurance company audit. Charges included 168 counts of misappropriation of funds, 47 counts of forgery, and numerous counts of theft.

"We were first alerted to Mr. Caesar's activities after he was arrested by West District detectives in Lake Charles on July 20, 2000," Wooley said. "At that time, he was charged with 215 counts of misappropriation of premium and 59 counts of theft over $500."

Mr. Caesar had been licensed to sell Life and Health insurance since October 28, 1983, and licensed to sell Property and Casualty insurance since May 1, 1985. Anyone who has problems contacting the insurance company or still has insurance questions after talking with the company should call the Department of Insurance, toll-free, at 1-800-259-5300, for help in determining whether they really have the insurance they paid for, Wooley said. Department phones are staffed from 8 to 5 weekdays.

Wooley said today's actions are part of a sweep being made around the state. "Insurance fraud is a huge problem in Louisiana. Claims fraud alone in our state is estimated at $2.3 billion a year," said Wooley. "And that does not even include agent fraud," he added. He also noted that most insurance agents are honest and hardworking.