Alabama-based insurance agent Ronald Warren Powell has pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud in the Colbert County Circuit Court, according to a report by Rocket City Now, as well as one count of insurance fraud.
The plea deal with Mr. Powell was disclosed by the Director of the Alabama Securities Commission, Joseph Borg, and the state’s Insurance Commissioner, Jim Ridling. Both crimes are Class B felonies, according to the report. Mr. Powell has received a seven-year sentence for the securities fraud count and a five-year sentence for the insurance fraud count; he will serve the sentences concurrently. The report states that his plea stems from an indictment made in March 2018 alleging that he received more than $800,000 in investor funds and misappropriated them, directing the funds to his own personal ends rather than investing them in the manner he told investors he would.
According to the report, he also accepted funds from two individuals making payments on life insurance premiums, but he did not timely send those payments to the relevant insurance companies. As a result of his failure to timely make the payments, the policies in question were canceled by their providers on the basis that the premiums had not been paid. The report states that when Mr. Powell was informed of the policy cancellations, he kept the funds, which totaled more than $30,000. Another report by the Times Daily states that Mr. Powell has requested he be put on probation, and that a hearing on the matter has been scheduled for February 25, 2019.
Records provided by the Alabama Securities Commission indicate that Mr. Powell has previously been sanctioned by the authority. In 2015 he was barred from transacting securities business in the state in connection to allegations that while chairman and CEO of Tom Jones Insurance and Financial Services Group, he conducted securities business without proper registration. He was also arrested in August 2017 in connection to allegations he committed insurance fraud and exploited an elderly person when he “gained control of millions of dollars from the sale of false insurance policies,” charges he denied, according to a report by Quad Cities Daily. That report states that he was indicted in connection to allegations he led elderly customers to believe they were buying insurance policies, when in reality the money he took from them “went directly into Powell’s pockets” and that he converted the funds by forging his customers’ signatures.