DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — An Ohio insurance agent has been ordered to pay a total restitution of $143,059.93 after defrauding dozens of victims in the Miami Valley.
Seneca Birchmore, 45, of Cincinnati, pleaded guilty to committing aggravated identity theft, a federal crime punishable by a mandatory two-year prison sentence. Birchmore also fraudulently obtained two COVID Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to a release from Attorney Kenneth L. Parker.
Birchmore lost his license as an insurance agent in 2019 because he was writing unauthorized insurance policies so that he could collect the commissions, according to court documents.
After losing his license, Birchmore then stole the identities of two other insurance agents and used those identities to write more life insurance policies for customers who did not want them. Birchmore had the commissions from dozens of local customer victims deposited into his own bank accounts, the release states.
Local law enforcement departments received complaints from victims that money was being automatically withdrawn from their bank accounts for insurance policies they never ordered. Many of the victims were senior citizens from Dayton, Englewood, Middletown and Cincinnati.
The commissions for Birchmore’s original fraudulent insurance policies under his own name as an agent totaled more than $8,000. The commissions for policies created under the stolen identities of other agents totaled more than $93,000.
As part of his plea, Birchmore has agreed to pay the following restitution:
Americo Financial Life and Annuity Insurance Company: $34,820.37
Columbian Life Insurance Company: $16,604.01
Transamerica Life Insurance Company: $4,671
Mutual of Omaha: $2,104.65
Great Western Insurance Company: $16,303.17
Aetna Health and Life Insurance Company: $8,826.84
American General Life Insurance Company: $158.82
Guarantee Trust Life Insurance Company: $17,906.07
U.S. Small Business Administration: $41,665
In a separate incident, Birchmore fraudulently obtained two COVID Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling more than $40,000. Birchmore falsely claimed on both loan applications that he owned a business in his name and stated his gross income for 2019 was more than $13 million, the release states.
Birchmore was charged federally and arrested in June 2022.