BOISE — A Lincoln County insurance agent has been convicted of two felony counts of insurance fraud in connection with the theft of her clients’ insurance premiums to pay her personal and business bills, authorities said.
Charlotte Sheppard of Richfield was sentenced to serve 10 years in the Idaho Department of Corrections, with five years fixed and five years indeterminate, the Idaho Department of Insurance reported Wednesday.
“This is one of the most egregious cases I have ever seen,” said Dean L. Cameron, director of the Idaho DOI. “Most agents have their clients’ best interests at heart, but Ms. Sheppard is an unfortunate exception. We are grateful to the Lincoln County Prosecutor, Richard Roats, for his assistance with this case and bringing Ms. Sheppard to justice.”
Sheppard was first prosecuted and found guilty in Blaine County for grand theft in 2020. Prior to her prosecution, her employer referred information to the Idaho Department of Insurance for stealing funds from the agency’s fiduciary account. The Department investigated and found that Sheppard had violated Idaho Insurance Code. Concurrent with the court proceedings, the Department was taking administrative action to revoke her Insurance License.
In the interim, while awaiting criminal sentencing and administrative penalties, Sheppard took over management of a second agency in Lincoln County. According to a release, the DOI learned she was again misappropriating funds with the new agency. The DOI issued a cease-and-desist order on March 18, 2020, and revoked her license on March 20, 2020.
The department opened a new investigation and determined that Ms. Sheppard had collected premiums from multiple clients at the second agency but did not apply them to their policies. She diverted the funds for her personal use, the DOI said. Charges were filed in the Fifth Judicial District in Lincoln County, Idaho in October 2020.
The Idaho Department of Insurance regulates the state’s insurance business by administering the Idaho Insurance Code and the International Fire Code. For more information, visit us at doi.idaho.gov or email us at [email protected].