A former California insurance agent has been accused of embezzling nearly $30,000 of his clients’ premium payments for his personal use.
Last week, former State Farm agent Benjamin Weldon, 45, pleaded not guilty to one felony count of grand theft, according to a report by The Sun-Gazette.
The California Department of Insurance began investigating Weldon after State Farm attempted to collect policyholder premium payments from his trust account but found the account had insufficient funds. According to investigators, Weldon collected cash payments from his clients for their premiums between November 2017 and August 2018 and credited their policies for the payments but did not send the money to the insurance company. He allegedly stole a total of $29,494 to pay personal expenses and repay personal loans, The Sun-Gazette reported.
Weldon had long supported his community of Exeter, Calif., through his insurance company, which opened in 2012 and closed in 2019, according to The Sun-Gazette. He sponsored an annual basketball game, a Lions Club parage held on New Year’s Eve, and an annual awards dinner held by the Exeter Chamber of Commerce.
He also served on the Exeter Chamber of Commerce board of directors, the Exeter Lions Club board of directors, and on the community action committee for the Boys and Girls Club of the Sequoias.
The California Department of Insurance revoked Weldon’s insurance license in March of last year. He is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing on June 14. If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison.