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February 16, 2005

Three More Guilty Pleas Obtained In New Jersey Insurance Industry Probe

Senior Marsh Executive Admits to Deceiving Clients on Fee Revenues

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said today that a senior executive at Marsh and two AIG employees have pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with an ongoing investigation of fraud and bid rigging in the insurance industry.

All three defendants admitted to participating in a scheme that allowed Marsh, the nation’s largest insurance broker, to protect incumbent insurance carriers when their business was up for renewal.

With today’s action, Spitzer’s office has now obtained nine guilty pleas from executives at four different companies.

As part of his plea today, the managing director of Marsh’s excess casualty unit described an official protocol whereby Marsh clients were given a significantly understated figure when they asked about the amount of revenue Marsh derived from Placement Service Agreements.

Two of the defendants in today’s cases pleaded guilty to the crime of Scheme to Defraud in the First, a class E felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison. The third defendant pleaded guilty to the crime of Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail. All three defendants pleaded guilty before Justice James Yates of New York County Supreme Court.

The defendants in today’s cases are expected to testify in future cases, as are the six other insurance industry employees who entered criminal pleas. Previously, two executives at AIG, two from Zurich American, one from Marsh and one from ACE pled guilty to criminal charges.

Spitzer thanked the New York State Insurance Department for its cooperation in the joint investigation, which is continuing.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Kristen Marcelle, Whitman Knapp and Harold Wilson of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, under the direction of the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, Kevin Suttlehan, and the Bureau Chief, Janet Cohn. Investigators John McManus and Sylvia Rivera of the Investigations Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigator Hank Lemons, assisted in the investigation.

Posted by Tom Troceen