A Decatur, Illinois, independent insurance agent has pled guilty to charges that he defrauded his clients of more than $250,000 from February 2011 to July 2016, according to a press release from the Central District of Illinois U.S. Attorney's Office.

James P. Smith, 60, appeared before Chief U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid in Peoria. Sentencing is scheduled on July 20, 2017. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Macon County Sheriff's Office conducted the investigation.

Used money for his own benefit

Smith acted as an independent agent at the Prairie State Insurance Agency in Decatur. According to court documents and statements made in court, from at least February 2011 through July 2016, Smith solicited clients to purchase insurance, including whole life insurance, and financial products, including annuities.

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Jayleen R. Heft

Jayleen Heft is the digital content editor for PropertyCasualty360.com. Contact her at [email protected].