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Hearing postponed for former insurance agent

October 05, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A hearing for a former Charles Town insurance agent charged with fraudulent schemes was postponed Monday to give lawyers in the case a chance to work out a possible resolution in the matter, a prosecutor said.

An agreement might be worked out in the case of Michael J. Cross, 73, without proceeding further in the courts, said Assistant Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Gina Groh.

Any resolution would include input from victims in the case and the West Virginia Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Groh said.

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Jefferson County Magistrate Gail Boober agreed Monday morning to continue a preliminary hearing for Cross, who is free on a $50,000 bond.

Cross, who now lives in Florida, was not in magistrate court because he waived his right to appear at the hearing, Groh said.

Lawyers in the case have 20 days to determine if a preliminary hearing needs to be held in the case, Groh said.

Cross was charged with collecting $53,571 from customers for insurance policies that did not exist, according to court records and Charles Town Police Department Detective Mark Spessert.

Cross was picked up last month in Nassau County, Fla., on a warrant issued by the Charles Town Police Department. He later turned himself in at Jefferson County Magistrate Court.

Alleged victims in the case included the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and the Old Opera House, according to court records.

In two of the cases, Cross wrote a binder policy for customers, court records allege.

A binder policy is an application that a customer fills out to start the process of obtaining insurance, said Spessert. The application is forwarded to an insurance company for development of the policy, Spessert said.

In the case involving the chamber of commerce, it appears that each time insurance payments came due for the chamber of commerce, Cross would issue a binder policy, court records allege. Although the chamber would pay for the binder policy, no packet detailing their coverage was ever sent to them, according to Spessert and court records.

Since 1995, the chamber has paid $24,209 to the Moore Insurance Co. for insurance that did not exist, court records allege.

In another case, the Old Opera House paid $16,487 to the Moore Insurance Agency for insurance that did not exist, court records allege.

Cross closed the Moore Insurance Co. office at the corner of George and Liberty streets last fall, Spessert said.

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