A crime both small and big businesses are victims of: embezzlement
A businesswoman whose state license to sell insurance was recently revoked just had a ribbon cutting in Waveland for her insurance agency, Coast Reliable Insurance.
Chassity Ann Tillman is not allowed to sell insurance in Mississippi, an order of the Mississippi Insurance Department shows. However, the department verified that Coast Reliable is licensed and at least one licensed agent works there.
State law allows Tillman to own an insurance agency as long as she is not working on or selling policies, the department confirmed.
Tillman, who also sells real estate, has not responded to voicemails from the Sun Herald. MID revoked her insurance license Aug. 16 after a hearing in Biloxi, a copy of the order shows. The order says her license was revoked for four reasons:
▪ Withholding or misappropriating money from an insurance client
▪ Misrepresenting the terms of a contract
▪ Fraudulent or irresponsible business conduct
▪ Forgery related to an insurance transaction.
Revocation of Tillman’s license was the final action in a series of events that started more than two years ago in the office of Dewitt Insurance Agency in Diamondhead.
Clifford Ladner, longtime owner of the agency, contacted the Sun Herald about what happened, saying he wanted to let the public know and to protect his agency’s reputation.
“She can’t touch insurance and is not supposed to handle quotes or any information at all dealing with insurance,” Ladner said.
Tillman had been working at DeWitt for almost 10 years, Ladner said, when she wrote an insurance policy in February 2017 and accepted $1,163 cash from the customer for the annual premium.
The customer later received a notice from her insurer that a premium payment was due and called Ladner, who paid the $721.31 still owed. Ladner was trying to track down the missing money and piece together what happened, he said, when Tillman resigned in August 2017 and started Coast Reliable, licensed with a Bay St. Louis address.
Ladner found evidence showing that Tillman had forged the customer’s signature on a premium finance application and on a money order for partial payment of the premium, the MID order confirms.
Tillman told MID in November 2017 that she had repaid Ladner, but that was not true, MID said.
She repaid the $721.31 more than a year later and only after being ordered to do so by a Diamondhead Municipal Court judge, who passed to the files a misdemeanor embezzlement charge against her, court records show.