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Former CNA underwriter pleads guilty to wire fraud

Former CNA underwriter pleads guilty to wire fraud

A former CNA Financial Corp. health care liability underwriter has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and will serve six and a half to eight years in prison as well as pay $16.1 million in restitution to the insurer, according to a plea agreement filed Monday with the U.S. District Court in Chicago.

David Ballard, who was vice president of a CNA underwriting group, was charged by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois with, beginning in 2005, collecting more than $13.5 million in premium payments from an unidentified Pennsylvania-based health care company for more than 10 years on matching deductible insurance renewal policies. Under these policies, the policy limit matches the deductible, but the insurer pays claims if the policyholder becomes insolvent.

Mr. Ballard, who left CNA in 2016, used the premium payments to purchase real estate for himself and his family and to pay for his personal expenses, including credit card bills, expensive dinners and trips, according to the plea agreement

Neither the complaint nor the plea agreement identified the policyholder or the insurer, but sources have said Mr. Ballard worked for CNA.

In addition, according to the plea agreement, beginning in 2001 Mr. Ballard collected about $3.3 million in past due policy premium payments from two other health care companies on medical malpractice accounts insured by CNA and paid CNA $1.1 million of that, but kept the remaining $2.1 million.

Mr. Ballard agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, but under the anticipatory advisory guidelines cited in the plea agreement will be imprisoned for 78 to 97 months, or six and a half to eight years.

The plea agreement also requires him to pay the $16.1 million in restitution to CNA under a schedule to be set by the court at sentencing. The case has now been referred to the probation office for a pre-sentence investigative report, under an order signed by Judge John Z. Lee.

A CNA spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.





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