Former Ashburn Insurance Agent Sentenced to Federal Prison for Fraud Scheme

An Ashburn woman was sentenced today to serve two years in prison for engaging in a fraud scheme that resulted in an attempted loss of approximately $182,000.

Semyya Cunningham, 41, was convicted by a federal jury on Feb. 1.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Cunningham was an agent and licensed representative of the Western Reserve Life Assurance Co. of Ohio, a company that issued life and other forms of insurance. In April 2014, Cunningham sold a life insurance policy to a close friend, identified as Victim A. The policy included an accelerated death benefit option that permitted the holder, in the event he or she were ever diagnosed with a terminal illness, to claim the proceeds before death.

In July 2014, Victim A was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Shortly thereafter, Cunningham engaged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain the proceeds of the insurance policy for herself. Cunningham changed the contact information on the policy to her information, changed the beneficiaries on the policy from Victim A’s family members to friends of hers, and submitted a claim for the accelerated death benefit without Victim A’s knowledge or consent. Western Reserve paid the claim, and because the contact info had been changed to Cunningham’s information, the check was mailed to Cunningham’s residence. Cunningham then deposited the money into her own account, and then transferred the bulk of the money through several accounts in an apparent attempt to prevent the transaction from being reversed, according to the evidence.

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