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Insurance fraudster gets 37 years in prison

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A federal judge has sentenced the head of two phony insurance companies to 37 years in prison for defrauding some 5,000 commercial customers of more than $100 million, prosecutors said.

During sentencing Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge William D. Quarles also ordered Jeffrey Brian Cohen to repay $137 million in restitution to the thousands of entertainment industry victims who thought they had purchased general liability, liquor liability and excess liability coverage for their businesses from 2008 to 2013.

Mr. Cohen, 40, pleaded guilty in June to charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, making false statements to an insurance regulator and obstruction of justice, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baltimore said in a statement.

Mr. Cohen was chairman and president of two Sparks, Maryland, companies: Indemnity Insurance Corp. RRG and, previously, Indemnity Insurance Corp. of DC Risk Retention Group. Aside from defrauding policyholders, he was accused of falsely representing the companies' financial status to a rating agency, financial auditors and the insurance commissioners of Delaware and the District of Columbia, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also alleged that after bringing criminal charges against Mr. Cohen, he threatened an attorney and a witness during a deposition being taken in Delaware's insurance investigation and allegedly plotted to harm other officials connected to the case.

“The evidence demonstrated that Jeffrey Cohen was a chronic con artist who was planning to commit murder to prevent his fraud schemes from coming to light,” U.S. Attorney Rod. J. Rosenstein said in the statement.