MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

May 10, 2014

Insurance agent guilty of defrauding couple of $300K

Tulsa man pleads guilty to elder exploitation

A Tulsa insurance agent has pleaded guilty to exploitation of the elderly for defrauding a Muskogee couple out of nearly $300,000, a media release states.

Keith Presley Dennis, 36, was arrested in January after an investigation by the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit.

“We take crimes like this very seriously,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak in the release. “Licensed insurance agents should protect their clients, not take advantage of them. I commend our anti-fraud investigators for their hard work in this case. They will continue to look out for Oklahoma consumers and make sure any bad actors out there are brought to justice.”

The victims, an 80-year-old man and his 68-year-old wife, told investigators that Dennis, a friend of the family, convinced them to withdraw $300,000 from their annuities and invest it in his company, Dennis Investments, an unlicensed investment firm. They also said Dennis persuaded them to create a joint checking account with him so he could access the money to make investments. Instead of investing the money, Dennis spent it on past due child support, country club memberships and restaurants.

According to court documents, a multicounty grand jury subpoena was issued Nov. 5 for the bank accounts where the elderly man’s money went. When the investigator received the records he found that the money was then distributed to four other accounts “all in the name of Dennis Investments and Keith Pressley Dennis.”

The couple agreed to loan Dennis money, and Dennis listed a residence in Tulsa valued at $137,000 as collateral as well as his company, Dennis Investments, valued at $225,000.

But, when the investigator looked up the ownership of the home, he found someone other than Dennis to be the owner, even though Dennis and his wife lived in the home. He also found that Dennis Investments never showed a balance of more than $30,000, court documents state.

Dennis pleaded guilty to one count of exploitation of the elderly. He was given a 15-year suspended sentence, ordered to pay a $500 fine and pay $293,265.83 in restitution.

Reach Elizabeth Ridenour at (918) 684-2929 or eridenour@muskogeephoenix.com.

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