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March 03--CEDAR RAPIDS -- A former Dike insurance agent has pleaded guilty to allegations she made up policies to collect commissions.
According to court records, Melissa Ilene Williams, 46, used forged people's signatures on bogus life insurance policies and collected $170,292 in fraudulent commissions from Funeral Directors Life Insurance Co. and National Guardian Life Insurance Co. in 2011 and 2012.
To keep the scheme a secret, Williams also paid some of the premiums on the bogus policies, court records state.
Williams was charged Feb. 21, and she pleaded guilty to a single count of mail fraud on Monday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. She faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing will be at a later date. She remains free pending sentencing.
According to the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, Williams had been licensed as an insurance producer since May 2007.
In November 2013, the department scheduled a hearing after receiving complaints that Williams had made improper premium payments for policies on behalf of relatives and friends and made false statements on applications. Williams didn't attend the hearing to challenge the allegations, and her license was revoke on Nov. 25, five days before it was set to expire, according to department records. She was also ordered to pay a $1,000 civil penalty.
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