News Release: Associated Press
August 29, 2014
MIAMI (AP) -- The mastermind of an $800 million insurance scam that stands as one of the largest fraud schemes in Florida history is being sentenced by a federal judge.
A hearing is set Friday for Joel Steinger, former chief of Fort Lauderdale-based Mutual Benefits Corp. Steinger faces up to 50 years behind bars after pleading guilty in March to mail and wire fraud conspiracy charges. Steinger's lawyer is seeking a more lenient penalty.
Prosecutors say Mutual Benefits was a massive fraud scheme in which investors lost about $830 million between 1994 and 2004. There were about 30,000 victims around the world.
The now-defunct company bought life insurance policies from people with AIDS, cancer and other chronic illnesses and sold them to investors. Prosecutors say the numbers were manipulated and investors misled.