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Marsh exec pleads guilty to criminal charges

A Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. insurance broker, Senior Vice President Robert Stearns, Thursday pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with an ongoing probe into fraud and bid-rigging in the insurance industry, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office said.
/ Source: Reuters

A Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. insurance broker, Senior Vice President Robert Stearns, Thursday pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with an ongoing probe into fraud and bid-rigging in the insurance industry, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office said.

Stearns is the first Marsh employee convicted as part of Spitzer's investigation into fraud and bid-rigging in the insurance business.

A Marsh & McLennan spokeswoman declined to immediately comment.

The Marsh Inc. executive admitted that during a period from 2002 to 2004, he instructed insurance companies to submit noncompetitive bids for business. Stearns would then pass these bids to Marsh clients, who thought they were getting competitive quotes, under fraudulent pretenses.

Spitzer's office said Stearns pleaded guilty before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Yates of scheming to defraud in the first degree — a class E felony which carries a maximum sentence of 16 months to four years in state prison.