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Mason family pleads guilty to lying about 400-pound relative on life insurance application

Three members of a Mason family have pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder nearly $3 million in proceeds from two fraudulently purchased life insurance policies, which were taken out on another relative.

Patricia Stevenson, 57, and her daughter Candace G. Stevenson, 30, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Thursday money laundering conspiracy. Mitch G. Stevenson, 53, pleaded guilty on June 28.

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According to court documents, in 2009, Mitch Stevenson bought life insurance policies on a relative. The life-insurance applications claimed the relative was healthy, weighed 170 pounds and had an annual income of $133,000. In fact, the relative was ill, weighed nearly 400 pounds and was unemployed.

Stevenson knew the applications were fraudulent at the time they were submitted, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. When the relative died, Candace and Patricia Stevenson, who were the beneficiaries of the policies, collected checks from the insurance company totaling $2,908,326.90. At Mitch Stevenson’s direction, Candace and Patricia Stevenson opened eight different bank accounts in an attempt to conceal the source of the funds.

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“The defendants engaged in a complex sequence of transactions designed to conceal and disguise the ownership of the proceeds of the life-insurance fraud,” Benjamin C. Glassman said.

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The family members used the to buy a 2012 Bentley GT Convertible for approximately $247,000 and used approximately $284,000 as a down payment on a land contract on a home in Mason, according to court documents. Other transactions included approximately $16,000 to World of Decor and nearly $33,000 to Facet Jewelry.

A federal grand jury indicted the three in June 2017. Money laundering conspiracy is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set by Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. of the Southern District of Ohio.

As part of the plea, the defendants have agreed to pay the $2.9 million to the victim life insurance company. They have also agreed to forfeit to the United States the Mason home, that was purchased with the proceeds of the fraud.

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