BLACKSHEAR — Businesswoman Dana Larson Bowen, 53, pleaded guilty Monday in Pierce County Superior Court to three counts of failure to report insurance premiums, two counts felony insurance fraud and a single count of felony perjury, said District Attorney George Barnhill.
The insurance policies fraud occurred in several area counties, testimony revealed.
She was sentenced by Chief Superior Court Judge Dwayne Gillis to 25 years, a split sentence, being 18 months confinement, one year prison (given credit for jail time), followed by six months at a probation detention center and then 23 1/2 years on felony probation.
She also was fined $3,500 and ordered to pay restitution to her victims (capped at a maximum of $100,000), said Barnhill.
As a special condition, Bowen has been “banished” for the remaining 24 years of her sentence to remain outside of the six counties of the Waycross Judicial Circuit (Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, Coffee, Pierce and Ware counties).
Before she was sentenced, Bowen apologized to the court and accepted responsibility for her actions.
Bowen, owner and fiduciary of Management South Insurance Agency in Blackshear, was accused of knowingly and willfully making fraudulent statements or representations to insurance companies, knowingly and willfully creating and submitting false certificates of insurance or insurance binders, and knowingly and willfully receiving money for the purpose of purchasing insurance and converting such money to her own use without providing the amount of insurance to customers that the customer had paid Bowen for.
She also, while under oath at a state administrative insurance investigative hearing, knowingly made false statements.
She was represented by two well-known trial attorneys, Don Samuel, of Atlanta, and Sam Edgar of Alma.
District Attorney George E. Barnhill and Assistant District Attorney Melanie J. Brogden prosecuted Bowen’s case.
Blackshear Police Chief Chris Wright and detectives from the ACE Unit, as well as investigators from the State Insurance Commissioner’s Office, investigated Bowen’s case.
“We wish to recognize Chief Wright’s Blackshear Police Department and Melanie Brogden, assistant district attorney, for the many hours of hard work and dedication to detail that this complicated case required,” said Barnhill. “We would not have been able to present this case to a trial jury if not for the thorough and lengthy investigation by Chief Wright and the Pierce/Blackshear ACE Unit detectives and equally the numerous hours of pre-trial courtroom preparation by Ms, Brogden.”
Bowen had been stripped of her Georgia insurance broker’s license in earlier state hearings, said Barnhill.