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Ex-Maryland insurer accuses feds of fabricating fraud case

The federal government is armed to the teeth with resources when it investigates and prosecutes a criminal defendant. That scenario would be intimidating to most defendants, especially ones without a strong defense strategy.

A 39-year-old Maryland man, named in a 31-count federal indictment, is blamed for enriching his lifestyle with clients' insurance premiums. The government claims the defendant, owner of Indemnity Insurance Corp., cheated nightclubs and bars out of protection the man promised to provide. Prosecutors alleged regulators, banks and credit rating agencies also were fooled.

The businessman, acting in his own defense, told a Baltimore federal court no one lost money in the fraud scheme. The defendant confessed he manipulated "the financials" at the insurance company. According to prosecutors, the man falsified account information, letters of credit and wire transfers while disguising activities with stolen identities, aliases and multiple companies.

The government differed from the defendant's assertion that the crimes were victimless. Revenues from premiums at Indemnity totaled $25 million during the first half of 2013, the same year Indemnity was shuttered. Clients nationwide failed to get pay-outs for insurance claims, crippling some of the businesses.

The defendant spoke to jurors for more than half an hour. He offered explanations for having weapons and plans, which prosecutors stated were part of a planned retaliatory attack on officials over the seizure of the man's business. Federal charges included making false statements, wire fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.

Criminal defense attorneys advise defendants not to make statements to avoid self-incrimination. Defending yourself is an option, but it is rarely, if ever, the right choice in an arena of federal lawyers hungry to prosecute you.

Defense lawyers never underestimate the U.S. government's power to bring all the cards to the table. They are prepared to represent defendants in the most difficult circumstances, but attorneys can't help individuals who won't let them.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Baltimore County businessman claims 'no victims' in federal insurance fraud case," Kevin Rector, June 01, 2015

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