March 28, 2024

Fraudsters earned plenty of headlines throughout 2021 for a variety of scams.

Investigators busted up ever-popular Ponzi-style schemes and kept busy sorting out improper annuity sales. Other fraud claims were sorted out in courts across the U.S. and drew reader interest.

Here are the top 10 most-read stories on fraud cases in 2021:

1. Arizona IMO Seeks Bankruptcy Protection From IUL Fraud Fight

This story recapped a prolific pension fraud scheme that spread to the insurance industry before being shut down by federal investigators.

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The victims in the scam included Shurwest, a successful Scottsdale, Ariz., independent marketing organization. Shurwest filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Aug. 31 after executives realized “there’s not going to be anything left,” one of its attorneys said.

According to bankruptcy documents, Shurwest faces 38 pending lawsuits in state and federal courts.

“We indicated to some of those outside counsel and some of the folks at Shurwest that there may be a way to bring all this litigation into one forum,” said Michael McGrath of Mesch Clark Rothschild, a Tuscon, Ariz., law firm handling the bankruptcy filing. “So that we don’t simply blow each other’s brains out litigating this until there’s nothing left in the cupboard.”

Most of the plaintiffs are aggrieved policyholders nationwide who were victimized by a pension settlement fraud scheme that was adapted to the sales of hundreds of indexed universal life policies. IUL is…

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