Curious insurance fraud case could land Norcross man in prison

An unsolved murder in another state led to a bonanza for a Norcross-based insurance agent who hatched up a scheme to collect more than $190,000 on the victim’s life insurance policy.

Now, Gregory Morgan, who lives in Snellville, is about to be sentenced for insurance fraud, a charge that carries a sentence of up 20 years in prison.

In court documents federal prosecutors said the insurance scheme dates back a decade before the 2017 murder of Angela Frazier in Memphis.

In 2007, Morgan, a licensed insurance agent in both Georgia and Tennessee, wrote an insurance policy for her. The policy application named her three children as beneficiaries and himself as the contingent beneficiary, by saying he was her uncle when he wasn’t related to her at all. In 2010, he changed the policy to name himself as the primary beneficiary.

Frazier was found dead July 10, 2017 at her home in Memphis. Authorities said they believed there had been foul play based on evidence found in the house, but the cause of death has not been made public. Frazier was 46.

Only weeks after her death, Morgan collected $191,088 on her insurance policy.

One of the victim’s daughters says she and her siblings plan to be in a federal courtroom here to witness his sentencing on Aug. 30.

“The whole family will be there,’’ Mercedes Frazier told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She declined further comment.

Court records show that she has informed federal prosecutors that she wishes to speak before Morgan is sentenced.

Morgan’s Atlanta-based attorney, Kristen Wright Novay, did not respond to requests for comment.

Bob Page, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, declined comment.

Clean record

The Georgia Department of Insurance had no knowledge of Morgan's criminal case until asked about it by the AJC, so he was still considered to be an agent in good standing.

“As it relates to the allegations in the indictment, it does not appear that any report about them was made to our office,” wrote spokesman Brandon Wright in an email to the AJC. “As such, no action was taken.”

The department largely depends on public complaints about suspected misconduct to initiate investigations. But it will conduct a review based on reports from law enforcement or a third-party, including insurers who have a legal obligation to report instances of suspected fraud, Wright wrote. And, the department is free to investigate "on its own initiative in any situation in which it is deemed appropriate to do so,'' he wrote.

The department will now seek action to revoke Morgan’s license, Wright said on Tuesday.

‘Unlawful objective’

Details about how Frazier died have not been made public, and John E. Morris, a spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, said he could not provide more details.

“This is still an open case investigation and no arrests have been made,’’ Morris said.

After Frazier’s death, Morgan called one her daughters to say he would provide money for her funeral expenses in exchange for a copy of her birth certificate, according to the federal indictment.

Roughly two weeks later, the daughter opened a letter from the insurance company stating that the policy had lapsed because two payments were past due. After that, she called Morgan, who told her that the policy was not valid, court records show.

Morgan then called the insurance company, AGLI, to inquire about filing a claim and offered to pay the past-due premiums.

Less than six weeks after Frazier’s death, Morgan got a check from the company. But AGLI’s company policy bans agents from becoming the owner or beneficiary of any policy they write unless the insured was a member of the agent’s immediate family.

This spring, Morgan pleaded guilty to insurance fraud.

Federal authorities conducted an asset forfeiture to recover some of the funds, records show. The government’s sentencing memorandum says Morgan agreed to pay full restitution to Frazier’s children.

Investigating insurance fraud

The Georgia Department of Insurance operates a division that is solely dedicated to investigating allegations of insurance fraud. The division reviews misconduct by companies, agents or individuals. Crimes may involve automobiles, boats and heavy equipment, as well as health care fraud.

Each year, the department makes a number of arrests for insurance fraud — 49 so far this year and 60 last year. In addition, the department can sanction agents who violate rules. According to data the department provided, last year it suspended 10 agents and revoked the licenses of five. In 2017, 12 agents had their licenses suspended and six were revoked.

To file a complaint, the public can click on the department's public portal.

Callers can also report fraud anonymously at (404) 232-1212.

Insurance fraud is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.