Agent’s License Revoked for Stealing Insurance Funds from Ohio Funeral Directors



 

COLUMBUS – Ohio Department of Insurance director Judith L. French announced the insurance license revocation of Columbus agent Rhonda Chandler after a department investigation confirmed the agent stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance premiums and trust funds from a number of Ohio funeral directors.

“Funeral directors who have reason to believe they have been victimized by this person’s actions, and have not already been contacted by the department, should call our fraud and enforcement division at 1-800-686-1527,” French said.

Chandler obtained an insurance license in 1988 and operated Senior Marketing Consultants (SMC) / Gold Cross Funeral Plans. She assisted funeral directors in placing pre-need funeral funds in an insurance or trust product, and administered the Gold Cross Trust (GCT). When a consumer enters into a pre-paid funeral arrangement with a funeral home, the funds are required to be placed in a trust or an insurance product.

After learning of a lawsuit against Chandler, SMC, and GCT for failing to issue trust payments, the department opened an investigation into Chandler’s insurance-related activities. Evidence supported that Chandler deposited pre-need insurance premiums and trust funds into her insurance agency account and used the funds to pay agency-related expenses and incoming trust claims.

The department, before Chandler’s license revocation on Oct. 19, issued an Aug. 26 hearing notice charging Chandler with 25 counts of agent misconduct. The violations included:

  • Failing to timely submit an application for insurance to an insurer.
  • Improperly withholding, misappropriating, or converting money received in the course of doing insurance business.
  • Using fraudulent, coercive, or dishonest practices, or demonstrating incompetence, untrustworthiness, or financial irresponsibility, in the conduct of business in Ohio or elsewhere.

People who suspect agent misconduct are encouraged to contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1527. Agent disciplinary action and license information, as well as an agent locator tool to help shop for an agent by city, are available on the department’s website, www.insurance.ohio.gov.

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