AUSTIN (KXAN) – A Travis County Grand Jury indicted multiple Georgia-based corporate executives for doing insurance business in Texas without licenses, according to the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.
“Our office will hold accountable powerful actors who violate our laws,” Travis County District Attorney José Garza said in a press release. “This was a collaborative effort between our office and the Texas Department of Insurance, and I appreciate our partnership.”
An Unauthorized Insurance Business expense is a third-degree felony, punishable with an up to $10,000 fine and confinement for two to ten years, according to the Travis County DA.
The grand jury indicted Shelley Steele and Chase Moses, the CEO and President of The Aliera Companies – formerly known as Aliera Healthcare – with 12 counts of Unauthorized Insurance Business. The charges brought against them allege the two accused collected money for insurance and assisted insurers in collecting money from Texans while unlicensed, according to a press release.
The grand jury also indicted William “Rip” Thread, the CEO of Sharity Ministries, a non-profit, with twelve counts of Unauthorized Insurance Business. Thread allegedly adjusted claims and losses without a license, per the release.
The Texas Department of Insurance’s Fraud Unit conducted the investigation and the Travis County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Complex Crimes Unit will prosecute the accused.
Building this case was reportedly years in the making, Texas Insurance Commissioner Cassie Brown said.
“This was truly an example of a group effort. I’m pleased we were able to share the expertise of our fraud investigators and analysts to bring this case to an indictment,” she said.
All three cases are currently pending in the 167th District Court.