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You are here: Home . news . 2016 . tdi05232016

May 23, 2016

Houston Insurance Agent Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Fraud

HOUSTON – Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced the sentencing of Celia Castillo to 20 years in prison after a Texas Department of Insurance investigation uncovered an annuity scam in which she bilked almost a dozen elderly clients out of more than $3 million.

TDI investigators built their case against Castillo after getting complaints about the legitimacy of the investment products Castillo was selling. Case records revealed Castillo created a bank account where she diverted the investments of clients, who believed they were purchasing annuities. Annuities are a type of insurance product where the buyer receives regular annual payments for life. In this case the annuities were never actually purchased. The money instead went directly into the account Castillo created for herself.

TDI investigator Geneva Titus said the crime was especially insidious because Castillo preyed on older clients who had no nearby relatives. Her victims were all over the age of 70, and two were more than 90 years old.

“She would really become part of their lives, carefully building relationships with each of these folks,” Titus said. “She would visit with them, give them rides, have dinner with them  ̶  all with the goal of gaining their trust and eventually stealing their life savings.”

TDI investigators, who are certified peace officers working within the agency, coordinated with Special Assistant District Attorney Jesse McClure on the case. Once indicted and faced with the possibility of a trial, Castillo agreed to accept a 20-year prison term and will begin serving the sentence this month.

You can help fight insurance fraud. Report suspected cases to TDI by calling the Consumer Help Line at
1-800-252-3439 or visit www.tdi.texas.gov/fraud/report.html


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Last updated: 05/23/2016

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