Bixby businessman indicted on fraud charges
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
A Bixby man was arrested Tuesday in connection with a 26-count federal indictment that accuses him of taking the commissions earned by insurance agents who worked for his financial company.
Christopher M. Bland, 36, was arraigned later in the day on 14 counts of wire fraud and 12 counts of making false statements to a financial institution.
Bland was the owner and manager of Business Consultants of South Tulsa, through which he operated an insurance agency with locations in Tulsa and Tahlequah, according to the indictment.
The charges also say Bland was a district general agent for Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Co. Six insurance agents who worked in Bland’s offices had contracts directly with Colonial and were to receive commissions from Colonial and not through a district general agent such as Bland, the grand jury said.
Bland gained control of agents’ commissions by fraudulently inducing the agents to accept salaries from Business Consultants of South Tulsa instead of receiving commissions, the indictment alleges.
Bland is also alleged to have opened accounts at First Oklahoma Bank in the name of the agents without their knowledge and then caused the bank to transfer commission payments from the unauthorized agent accounts to a Business Consultants of South Tulsa account.
Bland is charged with causing 14 purportedly fraudulent wire transfers from Oct. 27, 2010, through Dec. 1, 2010, totaling more than $13,000, and with presenting 12 account agreements and automatic transfer agreements with agents’ forged signatures to the bank in October 2010.
The case is the product of a nearly year-long investigation by the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit. According to the Insurance Department, the probe started with a complaint from Colonial.
Department investigators and FBI agents, with the assistance of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, arrested Bland at his Bixby home on Tuesday, according to an Insurance Department press release. Bland was released on bond after he appeared Tuesday afternoon in Tulsa federal court.