RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Two retired insurance agents were convicted of targeting senior citizens in a multi-million dollar scam that covered 14 counties over seven years, the North Carolina Department of Insurance announced.
Beginning in 2004, Milton Hooks, 72, of Rocky Mount and James Mangum, 69, of Tarboro scammed nearly 80 victims out of $11 million victims had in savings and insurance policies.
“Preying on our senior citizens is wrong,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey. “I am pleased NCDOI criminal investigators were able to recover nearly $11 million in this important case that hopefully will help deter white collar crime like this in North Carolina.”
Hooks and Mangum convinced victims to remove money from their 401K accounts and life insurance policies and put the money into an annuity product known as a “Fixed Indexed Annuity.”
Investigators also discovered that the men convinced four victims to make individual $316,000 investments, which they directly diverted into their bank accounts and laundered the money for their own personal use.
The counties involved in the investigation include Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Chowan, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Halifax, Hertford, Hoke, Martin, Mecklenburg, Robeson, Wake, and Washington.
Hooks and Mangum were each convicted of six counts of obtaining property by false pretenses and were ordered to repay the victims in each case.
The judge dismissed 100 counts of obtaining property by false pretense and gave the pair suspended sentences because of the restitution.