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Former Investment Advisor Ordered to Pay $4.2 Million Restitution for Failed Insurance Fund

10/5/2001

TALLAHASSEE - A former Florida investment advisor who worked all over the country has been ordered to pay more than $4.2 million in restitution and is banned from the state's insurance industry for his role in a scheme that contributed to the collapse of a Sarasota-based group self-insurance fund.

As part of his sentencing Thursday in Manatee County Circuit Court, Robert Colgin Wilson, 60, was ordered to pay $4,232,635 to the Department of Insurance. The department was named receiver of United States Employers Consumer Self Insurance Fund after its collapse in 1995, and the Division of Insurance Fraud was asked to investigate indications of fraud.

"The restitution will be used to pay creditors and to cover costs involved in the liquidation of the group self-insurance fund," said Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher. "The department's fraud investigators did a tremendous job in unraveling the chain of events that we now know helped cause this fund's unfortunate and costly demise."

Wilson and another investment adviser, Gary F. Long, 59, were indicted in May 1998 on racketeering and grand theft charges by a statewide grand jury. State fraud investigators said the two duped the trust fund out of $3.5 million in cash and $4 million in receivables. The two were to invest in a portfolio, but instead ran off with the money.

Already serving a federal prison sentence on related charges, Wilson pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of racketeering, six counts of grand theft in the first degree, and five counts of grand theft in the second degree.

In addition to the $4.2 million restitution, Wilson was banned for life from working in Florida's insurance industry. He also was sentenced to three years in Florida State Prison, to be served consecutive to the four and a half years federal time he is now serving, followed by 20 years probation. He also must pay more than $100,000 to cover investigative and prosecution costs. The Office of Statewide Prosecution, Tampa Bureau, handled the prosecution.