Update: Charlottesville Area Insurance Agent Sentenced for Fraud

June 10, 2013

Update: A Charlottesville area insurance agent, who pleaded guilty to insurance fraud in March, learned his fate Monday.

In the federal courthouse in Charlottesville, Graham Hutson Messer, 32, of Bremo Bluff, was sentenced to seven months in prison. He will also serve three years of supervised release, including seven months of home confinement. He was also ordered to pay more than $60,000 in restitution to his victims.

Messer was originally charged with 13 counts of mail fraud. However, as part of a plea deal, he admitted to one count of insurance fraud.

“Mr. Messer diverted money from his clients that they had paid in order to obtain insurance,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said. “His criminal conduct left his victims uninsured and placed the financial futures of many local families in jeopardy. A coordinated
law enforcement effort uncovered Mr. Messer’s scheme and led to his conviction. This case demonstrates our continuing commitment to investigating and prosecuting all forms of financial fraud.”

Messer admitted that he would instruct his clients to send payments for insurance premiums directly to him. The defendant told his clients that he would then remit the payments to the insurance companies. However, Messer admitted that he embezzled those funds for his own personal use, never sending them to the insurance company.

September 26, 2012

An insurance agent who operated out of an office on Berkmar Dr. in Albemarle County is accused of defrauding his customers. Graham Hutson Messer, 32, of Bremo Bluff is charged with 13 federal counts of mail fraud.

According to the indictment, Messer worked as an independent agent offering insurance to clients in Virginia. He would allegedly tell those clients to send payments for insurance premiums directly to him and that he would pay the insurance companies for them. However, according to the indictment, Messer would embezzle the money for his own personal use, while also deceiving his clients into believing they had insurance coverage.

Among the customers Messer is accused of defrauding is the Piedmont House, a halfway house for non-violent felons located in Charlottesville. He allegedly took more than $5,000 from the Piedmont House. He is also accused of taking about $450 from CA Booker Hauling in Palmyra.

If convicted, Messer faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each mail fraud charge.

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