An insurance agent from Butte, Mont., has pleaded guilty to felony theft by insurance fraud for stealing more than $7,200 of his client's premiums. Monica Lindeen, Montana's Commissioner of Insurance, charged Jeremy Hoscheid with theft for embezzling premiums from seven of his clients. In April, Lindeen's office partnered with the Butte-Silver Bow County Attorney's office to file three felony charges against Hoscheid in state district court, including theft by insurance fraud and forgery. As a result of a plea agreement between Hoscheid and the Commissioner's office, Hoscheid pleaded guilty to theft by insurance fraud and the remaining charges were dropped.

At a July 12 sentencing hearing, Hoscheid received a three-year deferred sentence and agreed to pay full restitution and a $500 fine. Lindeen's investigators say Hoscheid was able to embezzle his clients' premiums because payments were made with cashier's checks, blank checks, or cash. Hoscheid's clients trusted he would forward the payments on to the insurance company. Lindeen reminds consumers to be careful about how they pay their premiums.

Lindeen spokesman Lucas Hamilton