Nightclub Insurer Charged in $100 Million Fraud

The owner of a Maryland-based insurer faces fraud charges for inflating the ratings of his company to win business, according to an indictment which seeks to recover more than $100 million in premiums his clients paid.

Jeffrey Cohen, 39, of Reisterstown, Maryland, deceived ratings firm A.M. Best Co. as well as regulators in Delaware and Washington with false financial documents that purported to show his company, Indemnity Insurance Corp. RRG, in stronger health than it was, according to a 12-count indictment handed up yesterday in federal court in Baltimore.

Cohen used the fraudulent ratings from January 2008 through fall 2013 to woo customers for IICRRG and for Indemnity Insurance Corporation DC, another business he controlled, according to the indictment. Both companies specialized in covering nightclubs and other entertainment-industry venues and events.

Yesterday’s filing comes on top of an earlier indictment in which Cohen was charged with making false statements to insurance regulators, according to a statement today by Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.

Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart oversaw an examination of IICRRG, a Delaware corporation, that prompted the state to seize it in June 2013 on claims of financial mismanagement. IICRRG operated in several states, insured more than 3,000 policy-holders and collected over $25 million in premiums in 2012.

Brendan Hurson, listed in court papers as Cohen’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to a phone message for comment on the charges.

Cohen faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for each of five counts of wire fraud, 10 years for each of two counts of money laundering, and 15 years for each of five counts of making false statements to an insurance regulator.

The government is also seeking forfeiture of $100.9 million, the estimated proceeds of Cohen’s alleged fraud.

The case is U.S. v. Cohen, 14-cr-00310, U.S. District Court Maryland (Baltimore).

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