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Tennessee Charges Frankel with Theft

September 15, 1999

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) _ Rogue financier Martin Frankel and unidentified associates have been charged with stealing more than $18 million from a Tennessee insurance company.

The Connecticut money manager already faces federal charges of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from insurance companies in five states and a Catholic charity.

Frankel fled the United States in May. He was caught this month in Germany and is fighting extradition.

A complaint was filed Friday in Williamson County General Sessions Court by James Prange, an investigator for Tennessee Attorney General Paul Summers. It claims Frankel and unidentified accomplices ``devised and executed a scheme to acquire and control over $18,160,000 from the Franklin American Life Insurance Co.,″ The Review Appeal of Franklin reported today.

Prange said Frankel and the others claimed they invested the money but ``diverted the monies into various accounts under his control and for his own use, and the use of others ... .″

Court Judicial Commissioner Jeri Brady charged Frankel with theft.

No date was set for Frankel’s preliminary hearing and District Attorney General Ronald L. Davis said today ``it’s anybody’s guess at this point″ as to whether he will actually be tried in Franklin.

``We are just trying to get our dibs on him,″ Davis said.

No charges have been filed against the others mentioned in the complaint and Davis declined to say who they might be.

Regulators say Frankel’s unlicensed brokerage siphoned at least $218 million from insurers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Missouri. A lawsuit filed by some of the companies puts the loss at $915 million.

Two Franklin American executives in Tennessee have been sued by the state of Arkansas, which says they transferred $5.28 million of an Arkansas insurance company’s assets to an account accessible by Frankel.

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