MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 8, 2012

Scam artist gets prison time

Wagoner County case involves fake investments


— OKLAHOMA CITY — Former insurance agent Marshall Virden has been sentenced to two years in prison for defrauding senior citizens in Wagoner County, according to a media release.

The punishment comes after a lengthy investigation by the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

“Our Anti-Fraud Unit worked diligently to bring to light the full scope of Virden’s criminal activity in the state of Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak, who has made exploitation of the elderly a focus of his administration. “This heartbreaking crime cost several Oklahomans their life savings.”

Virden pleaded guilty to one felony count of exploitation of elderly. He received a 10-year sentence with eight years suspended. He also got credit for time served.

“We are happy to get justice in this case,” District Attorney Brian Kuester said. “Mr. Virden received the maximum sentence, which includes prison time and probation, allowing the victims a chance to receive restitution.”

OID investigators discovered that Virden conducted investment seminars across the state. He would then persuade unsuspecting “customers” to cash in their life insurance and annuity products in exchange for precious metals such as gold and silver. Victims later learned that their investments were fraudulent and that Virden had fled the state. Through the efforts of the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshals Service, he was arrested in Florida.

“This sentence is just the beginning,” Doak said. “Virden faces charges in two other counties, and we believe there are more victims who haven’t come forward. We encourage them to do so. We are determined to protect every Oklahoma senior against insurance fraud.”

Potential victims are encouraged to call the OID’s Anti-Fraud Unit at (405) 521-6614.