Former Maryland insurance broker Edward Hanson is accused of swindling seniors of $280,000 says the Washington Post. Hanson is accused of defrauding Martha Cunningham and another couple in their 60s by persuading them to write large checks to him for services he never provided, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said at a news conference earlier this week.
Hanson was charged with six counts of mortgage fraud, insurance fraud, theft and exploitation of vulnerable adults. If convicted, he faces up to 90 years in jail. "These are folks who were victimized innocently," Ivey said, referring to Cunningham and Bobby and Lucille Mackey of Bowie. Ivey promised "tough enforcement" of laws that protect the elderly and others against fraud.
Hanson had helped Cunningham take out a reverse mortgage on her home and received a $212,000 payout. Cunningham said she also told Hanson that she was interested in purchasing long-term health insurance. He started asking her for large sums of money, she said, to pay for the policy.
"I don’t know how I didn’t catch on," said Cunningham, who wrote 21 checks to Hanson in March 2008 for more than $20,000. Three months later, she wrote 10 checks for almost $14,000.
She never received the policy. By the end of the year, Cunningham had given Hanson more than $200,000 from her reverse mortgage funds, additional money from her bank account and now owes $10,000 more on a Discover card.
According to the article, the prosecution is the first under a state law enacted last year that established a separate category for mortgage fraud and strengthened penalties for convictions.
"It’s important that citizens know that we take these types of crimes seriously," said Bowie Police Chief Katherine Perez, whose department took the initial complaint. "When people try to scam you, come forward so we can bring about justice."