Investment Fraud and Elder Abuse: Trusted Agent Steals from Elderly
Jasmine Jamrus-Kassim, a former independent insurance agent who sold annuities for Bankers Life and Casualty Co was sentenced to more than six years in prison for stealing more than $1 million from her elderly clients. Jamrus-Kassim was arrested in March 2011 after an investigation by Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s special investigations unit found that she had taken $1.05 million from five clients.
The victims, aged 74 to 90, thought the money was being reinvested but instead Kassim pocketed it. Her financial records show large payments to online psychics, including $20,000 paid to one psychic website in a month. They also show she spent “thousands of dollars” on clothes, jewelry, and a trip to Mexico. Bankers Life and Casualty, a unit of the Indiana-based CNO Financial Group agreed to repay the victims, and any tax penalties they incurred.
In some cases, Kassim stripped people of their life’s savings. The victims were very fortunate that the insurance company chose to repay the victims although the insurer itself was also a victim of the fraud. Too often, the outcome of these situations is an unrecoverable loss.
Protect yourselves and the elders you love from these shysters:
- Check the credentials of anyone who wants to invest money for you through the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, including if they are licensed to offer that type of investment and whether or not there has been disciplinary action against them.
- Contact Adult Protective Services in your state if you suspect an elder is being financially abused in this manner (1-800-677-1116) or the National Center on Elder Abuse to find resources in the state where the financial victim resides.
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, is a California attorney, insurance consultant and expert witness specializing in insurance issues including fraud. Mr. Zalma has also written a number of books and writes a free newsletter on insurance fraud. See his new program on insurance fraud, “Who Got Caught?” online at www.WRIN.tv.