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INSURANCE THEFT RESULTS IN $4 MILLION AWARD

May 8, 1993

Mobile Press Register

Agent forged checks using Mobile couple's names and deposited them in his account

A Mobile County Circuit Court jury awarded a Mobile couple $4 million Friday in connection with the theft of life insurance checks, which their insurance agent forged and converted to his own account.

The jury awarded Jack and Jean Smith $2 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages. The judgment was against Crown Life Insurance co., a Toronto-based company.

The verdict followed a four-day trial in Judge Robert Kendall's courtroom.

Buddy Brown, the Smith's attorney, said evidence showed the couple's agent, Edward Land, who was convicted of mail and wire fraud in federal court here, forged six checks totaling $47,800 and deposited the money into his own checking account.

He said evidence showed Land filed false applications for loans from the company against policies, using the Smiths' names, and he forged their names and then deposited checks into his own checking account.

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