Ex-insurance exec faces fraud indictment


LITTLE ROCK — A federal grand jury Wednesday returned a fraud indictment charging a former Mt. Ida insurance broker with 12 counts of bank fraud, federal authorities announced.

Stephen Alan Standridge, 55, is accused of conspiring with two other men to obtain fraudulent bank loans backed by insurance policies Standridge sold.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer said the indictment follows guilty pleas by Danny Wood of Idabel, Okla., and Gregory A. Hunt of Russellville to charges of aiding and abetting bank fraud. Wood was sentenced last month to 30 months in prison. Hunt has not been sentenced.

Wednesday’s indictment alleges Standridge, who ran independent insurance agencies in the state, arranged for Wood, Hunt and their companies to obtain premium finance loans. It said Standridge would either purchase the insurance policies that were collateral for the loans and later cancel the policies or would never purchase the policies that were listed on the premium finance agreements.

The proceeds of the loans were ultimately paid to Standridge and were used for purposes other than those set forth in the loan agreements, authorities allege. Some of the transactions involving the loan proceeds are alleged in the indictment to be money laundering offenses.

Standridge is charged with one count of conspiring to commit bank fraud, four counts of aiding and abetting bank fraud, one count of bank fraud, five counts of money laundering and one count of making a false statement to a financial institution.

If convicted, he would face up to 30 years in prison and up to a $1 million fine on the charges of bank fraud and lying to a financial institution, and up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the money laundering counts.