Insurance broker indicted for allegedly stealing money from state and private companies
HARTFORD–An insurance broker was arrested on Friday by federal agents for fraudulently taking money from the state and from private entities. He was bailed out, according to his public defender.
Earl O’Garro Jr., 31, was president and CEO, as well as an owner, of Hybrid Insurance Agency, LLC. He was licensed in 2010 by the state’s Department of Insurance to do business as a state property and casualty insurance producer and a state surplus insurance lines broker.
From November 2011 to October 2013, in Connecticut and elsewhere, O’Garro created a scheme to deceive and defraud the state of Connecticut, private clients and others to get money and property by false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises to aid Hybrid’s business operations, according to the federal indictment.
Around January 2012 O’Garro applied to the state of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development for a small business express loan for $100,000 and for a small business express grant for $26,320. On the application O’Garro gave false information about Hybrid’s financial situation, specifically inflating the value of cash assets to increase the likelihood that his application would be approved. He was awarded the loan and grant on March 5.
In July 2013 he sent a series of electronic communications to a company that administers payment of premiums on behalf of insured entities, falsely claiming he was an officer and underwriter for Hybrid with authority to instruct the victim company to release premium payments.
O’Garro told the victim company to disperse money to Hybrid for four entities he allegedly insured. Three of the four were registered with the Secretary of the State and associated with O’Garro, but the fourth wasn’t registered, it was just used by O’Garro as a place to collect fraudulently obtained funds. In fact, Hybrid didn’t have policies for any of the entities, but the victim company still submitted $691,266.75 to Hybrid, which O’Garro took for his own use.
On July 18, 2013 O’Garro ordered the city of Hartford to electronically transfer $868,244 to Hybrid Insurance. Of that, $441,9000 was meant as a premium payment to one insurance company offering excess liability insurance policies. Another $228,097 was intended as a premium payment for a second insurance company offering excess liability insurance polices.
However, O’Garro never sent the money to either victim and kept it all for himself. On Sept. 6 he falsely told the city he had given the money to the victims.
O’Garro pleaded not guilty to one count of wire fraud for the incident.