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Ex-Unum exec pleads guilty to fraud

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MEMPHIS, Tenn.—James Michael Foley, a vp of sales for UnumProvident Corp., recently pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to group product sales, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Mr. Foley sold policies to about 10 employers and directed UnumProvident's underwriting department to name his friend as the broker of record and pay a commission, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Tennessee said in a Dec. 21 statement.

Policies sold by Mr. Foley normally did not generate a commission, but he received 90% of the commissions paid to his friend and altered documents to conceal the scheme from employers, according to the statement.

Mr. Foley no longer works for UnumProvident and faces up to 23 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 23, the U.S. Attorney's office said in its statement.

A spokeswoman for UnumProvident said the problem came to light following former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's investigation into insurance commission payments.

Disability and life insurance are the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based insurer's largest-selling group products.