CROWN POINT | A Crown Point man and former insurance agent was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in prison for stealing elderly clients' information to obtain credit cards and gain influence over their money.
Marlon Leon Underwood, 40, pleaded guilty to four Class D felony counts of identity theft. A judge gave him three years for each count and ordered that the sentences be served consecutively.
Underwood was arrested in Michigan City on April 17, 2013, and charged with one Class C felony count of corrupt business influence, five Class C felony counts of forgery and five Class D felony counts of identify deception.
Indiana State Police and the FBI were investigating Underwood at the time of his arrest.
When he was arrested, Indiana State Police Sgt. Ann Wojas said officers began investigating Underwood in 2012, when they received a complaint of possible insurance fraud.
Underwood previously worked at the American Freedom Financial Insurance office in Highland. His insurance broker's license was suspended in 2010, according to a news release from Indiana State Police.
He sold accident, health and life insurance, according to the Indiana Department of Insurance's website.
In a stipulated plea agreement hammered out between Lake County prosecutors and defense attorney Susan Severtson, Underwood admitted he used information from primarily elderly clients to obtain credit cards and influence over their money.
Underwood was not successful in this scheme because the FBI was conducting an ongoing investigation and he was arrested before he could use the cards, Severtson said.
Severtson portrayed Underwood as “an enigma” in his otherwise successful family.
“He was a successful insurance agent. He got off track,” she said in court prior to his sentencing.
However, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Judith Massa said Underwood was charged with fraud and theft on a financial institution in 2006. He paid back $18,000 to the financial institution, Massa said.
“His victims include a 79-year-old confined to a nursing home, a 77-year-old, a 63-year-old and a 36-year-old,” she said.
“He deserves this sentence,” Massa said. “What he did is reprehensible.”
Underwood is also facing felony charges in Jefferson City, La.