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Elder Law

Insurance Agent Gets Jail Time for Selling Annuity to Elderly Woman; He Denies Recognizing Dementia

Posted Mar 20, 2012 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A California insurance agent has been convicted of felony theft and sentenced to jail for selling an annuity with an early withdrawal penalty to an elderly woman, despite, prosecutors say, her apparent dementia.

The agent, Glenn Neasham, was sentenced to 90 days in jail last month in a case that “is sending shivers down the spines of Mr. Neasham's peers across the country,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Neasham had maintained the 83-year-old woman didn’t appear confused when she came to his office in 2008 with her longtime boyfriend, who had purchased an annuity like the one she decided to buy. Neasham had sold the woman an indexed annuity that pays interest tied to stock and bond-market indexes. The insurer guarantees that buyers won’t lose principal, but the buyers face penalties if they withdraw their money before a specified period.

"I never expected conviction," Neasham told the Wall Street Journal. "I thought the case would be thrown out." His lawyers have filed notice of appeal.

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