Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Montana’s State Auditor and Insurance Commissioner Troy Downing told KGVO News on Monday about how a former insurance agent in Helena was recently sentenced for his role in an insurance fraud scheme.

Helena Insurance Agent gets Jail Time and a $150,000 Fine

Downing said Mark Anthony Biegler was tried and sentenced in Lewis and Clark County District Court for his actions.

“Judge Menahan stated it very clearly,” began Downing. “During the sentence and this is for Mark Biegler, and we just had this sentencing last week that the judge said very specifically that the insurance commissioner licenses folks that are in a position of trust and when they breach that trust, that they're held accountable, that we care and they should have to pay for that breach of trust.”

He was pocketing the Premiums and not Providing any Insurance Coverage

Downing explained the fraudulent activity that Biegler perpetrated on his clients.

“He was placing commercial insurance with these companies,” he said. “He would take the premium, and he would pocket the premiums, so he would not actually place the insurance. Then as this fraud grew and as he did that with more and more companies occasionally claims would come up. When a claim would pop up, he would show up as the adjuster, which is very unusual. Then if there was a paid claim, then he would write a check from his agency rather than from his insurance company to try to keep anybody from figuring out that this was a fraud.”

Downing said Biegler was skating on very thin ice, hoping that no major claim would be submitted by the companies he falsely insured.

“If there would have been a very large claim, it would have destroyed that company, it would have completely brought that company down,” he said. “This is a big deal. You multiply that by the multiple companies that he was placing this with and it could have been catastrophic. I mean, luckily, it was only $150,000 in losses that he's been ordered to pay restitution for. This could have been much, much worse.”

Downing's Office is a Criminal Justice Agency

Downing said the jail time and fine for Biegler were completely justified by Judge Menahan in Helena.

“This is very unusual for white-collar crime, but in my opinion, this was absolutely warranted that the judge gave Mark Anthony Biegler 90 days in jail in addition to a 10-year suspended prison sentence, and $150,000 in restitution for committing insurance fraud against multiple victims.”

Downing said every business should thoroughly investigate any insurance company with which it does business.

The Commissioner of Securities and Insurance is a criminal justice agency that investigates and prosecutes insurance and securities fraud.

Call 406-444-2040 to get more information about the Montana CSI.

25 Mind-Blowing Photos of Devastating Flooding in Montana

20 Mind-Blowing Photos of Devastating Flooding in Montana

Yellowstone National Park Rebuilds After Historic Flooding

After catastrophic flooding damaged portions of Yellowstone National Park in June of 2022, major reconstruction was necessary to make the park passable again. The following are photos of the improvement projects at Old Gardiner Road and the Northeast Entrance Road. All photos are courtesy of the National Park Service, photographer Jacob W. Frank.

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM