Jeff Atwater: Ex-Insurance Agent Charged in Investment Fraud
A former insurance agent from Palm Harbor was arrested for allegedly running a scam aimed at seniors where details of financial products were misrepresented, according to the office of Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.
Neal Seth Smalbach, 49, was charged with grand theft after an investigation by the state Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud revealed Smalbach’s misrepresentations resulted in an estimated $4.6 million being invested by seniors in products that were unsuitable for them, the CFO office reported.
“Florida’s seniors have worked hard for many years to earn their money and prepare for retirement,” Atwater stated in a release. “Criminals who choose to prey on the elderly for their own financial gain will be caught and they will be brought to justice.”
Booked into Pinellas County jail, Smalbach now faces up to 54 years in prison.
The state Division of Agent and Agency Services also conducted an investigation of Smalbach and alleged that he falsified two applications for insurance to an insurer. In that case, Smalbach entered a settlement that included the surrender of his insurance license as part of a permanent ban from the insurance industry.