Former First AME Church Official Sentenced to Jail for Victimizing Seniors in Insurance Scam

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A 61-year-old former insurance agent was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay restitution after pleading guilty to grand theft by embezzlement for scamming seniors -- including members of First AME Church in South Los Angeles -- out of more than $100,000, state officials announced Thursday.

Constance Gail Fortune was sentenced Monday to five years of formal probation, one year in county jail, four years in state prison -- which was suspended -- and ordered to pay $179,513.46 in restitution to victims, including insurance companies, according to a news release from the California Department of Insurance.

Fortune was an employee, trustee and former spokeswoman for First AME Church. She often hosted meetings and met with fellow church members and others to market insurance products, the release stated.

Over a two year period, Fortune sold homeowners, auto and life insurance policies to numerous people, but never actually purchased the policies, the release stated.

Prosecutors alleged she fabricated bogus insurance documents on official company letterhead in an effort to give vctims the appearance that the policies were legitimate.

She then used the customer's premium payments to finance her lifestyle, including lease payments for her insurance office and rent for her apartment, according to the release.

“Fortune’s alleged criminal enterprise is reprehensible,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “Fortune violated her fiduciary responsibility when she used her position as a licensed agent and trusted member of the Los Angeles community to take advantage of seniors.”

The Department of Insurance was encouraging anyone who purchased insurance from Constance Fortune to contact CDI Detective Virgil De Los Santos at 323-278-5000.