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West County Claims Adjuster Pleads Guilty to Fraud

Prosecutors stated Brian Behl of West St. Louis County pleaded guilty to filing false insurance claims to divert more than $400,000 for personal expenses when he worked as a claims adjuster in O'Fallon, MO.

Friday, Brian Michael Behl, 33, of West St. Louis County, 63141, pled guilty to filing false insurance claims to divert more than $400,000 for personal expenses, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.    

In a news release, prosecutors said Behl worked for Allianz in O'Fallon, MO, as a claims adjuster at the time of the fraud. He now faces up to 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $1 million, according to prosecutors.

The following details of the case were included in the news release Friday.

According to court documents, Brian Michael Behl worked for Allianz as a Claims Adjuster in the O’Fallon, Missouri office for about ten years until he was terminated on September 20, 2012. Allianz, which also did business from time to time as Fireman's Fund is a company that provides insurance against theft, damage, and other losses to personal property.  Allianz's clients are companies whose employees were re-locating for employment purposes.  Whenever property was damaged during a move, the covered employee would file a claim with Allianz which would be reviewed by a Claims Adjuster. 

During the claims process, either the adjuster or a salvage company would assess the value of the damaged property.  In some instances, a salvage company would pay the covered employee directly for the damaged property and then take custody of it.  Allianz then reimbursed the salvage company.        

Because of his years of experience, Behl had authority to approve insurance claims under $10,000 without the prior approval of a manager.  Between March 2010 and September 20, 2012, Behl falsified damage claims and caused Allianz to make substantial monetary payments to a fictitious salvage company.  In furtherance of the scheme, Behl opened a bank account in the name of a fictitious company called B & M Salvage Repair.  From his office in O'Fallon, Behl re-opened old Allianz accounts that had previously been closed and made false damage claims on those accounts.  Over the course of the fraud scheme, Behl caused more than 40 checks from Allianz or Fireman's Fund to be issued payable to B&M Salvage to pay for the false claims, which he cashed and used for his own personal enjoyment.  He purchased a 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra and a 2009 Harley Davidson motorcycle, and made other personal expenditures with the illegal proceeds.  In all, Behl fraudulently diverted more than $400,000 to himself over the course of the scheme.                               

Behl, 33, St. Louis, 63141, pled guilty to one felony count of mail fraud before United States District Judge Carol E. Jackson.  Sentencing has been set for May 16, 2013.        

Additionally, Behl will be required to forfeit to the government all money and property derived from the illegal activity. Subject to forfeiture is the Ford Mustang, the motorcycle and $40,744 cash.    

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