Two former Owasso insurance agents have been charged in Wagoner County with exploiting an elderly World War II veteran.
In a news release from the John Doak, Oklahoma's Insurance Commissioner, Sterling Messer, 78, and Billie Messer, 60, cashed $15,000 worth of checks from the man's bank account.
“The suspects violated each and every element of their professional and ethical duties,” said John D. Doak.'
“We will not tolerate any action that violates a consumer’s trust. I commend our investigators for their hard work on this case.”
The Oklahoma Insurance Department began investigating after learning the Messers sold the 86-year-old victim a $92,500 annuity with a ten-year-term requirement. Then, they sold him a $59,273 policy with a seven-year-term requirement.
The victim’s friend told investigators, the victim was unaware of the term requirements of the annuities. She also said the victim had hearing loss due to an ear injury sustained during World War II.
During their investigation, Doak says they learned the Messers had convinced the victim to sign paperwork naming them successor trustees to his trust. The couple had also acquired durable power of attorney over the victim and amended his will to make themselves personal representatives of his estate.
Doak says the state Insurance Department revoked Sterling Messer’s insurance license in August 2015 for “using fraudulent, coercive or dishonest practices and by demonstrating incompetence, untrustworthiness and financial irresponsibility in the conduct of business.” And Billie Messer’s insurance license was revoked in December 2015.
The couple has a court appearance set for September 28th.