Fla. agent sent to prison for taking more than $1 million in premiums

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A Gainesville, Fla., insurance agent was sentenced to 21 months in state prison and 10 years of probation after pleading guilty to the theft of more than $1 million in premiums intended for businesses he had created.

James Sirmans Jr., 59, must also pay $1,025,057 in restitution to Premium Assignment Corp., the SunTrust company that loaned him money for the endeavor, according to the Gainesville Sun.

After running into financial trouble, Sirmans applied for and received more than $1 million in bank loans between 2008 and early 2009, which were to be used for premiums on insurance policies through Liberty Mutual for 20 businesses he created, some of which did not exist, the report said.

Defense attorneys said that Sirmans was attempting to repay the debt when the theft was uncovered and Sirmans told the judge that he should have filed for bankruptcy, but acted out of pride, the Sun reported.

Of the $1.8 million he received in loans, Sirmans was able to repay about $700,000, the report said.

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