An insurance agent from Garden City was charged Tuesday with inflating premiums and stealing more than $250,000 from a client and an insurance company, the Nassau County district attorney's office said.

John Sexton, 61, sent invoices to one of his clients showing the fraudulently increased premiums and kept the difference, and at one point stopped forwarding payments to the insurer, according to acting District Attorney Madeline Singas.

Sexton was arrested Tuesday by DA investigators and was arraigned before Nassau District Court Judge Paul Meli on two counts of second-degree grand larceny, three counts of first-degree falsifying business records and first-degree scheme to defraud. He was released on his own recognizance.

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Sexton declined to comment Wednesday night.

He faces a maximum of 5 to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top charge, Singas said in a news release.

Singas said that in 2002, Sexton, who is a licensed wholesale insurance broker and owner of John Sexton and Associates Inc., was contacted by Ocean Marine Insurance Agency, a retail insurance broker, on behalf of their client Seafreeze Ltd., a seafood producer and trader based in Rhode Island.

The insurance agency asked for Sexton's help in getting additional coverage for Seafreeze, and Sexton brokered a policy between the seafood producer and AGCS Marine Insurance Company for the coverage.

But according to the charges, from January 2010 to July 2013, Sexton wrote his own invoices with inflated premiums, forwarded them to the seafood producer via Ocean Marine Insurance Agency, and kept the difference -- about $58,000.

From April 2012 to February 2014, Sexton stopped forwarding the seafood producer's payments to the insurance company AGCS and kept them for himself, stealing more than $200,000 from the insurer and leading to Seafreeze's policy being canceled, the news release said.

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AGCS and Ocean Marine Insurance Agency filed a complaint against Sexton to the state Department of Financial Services, which investigated and referred the case to the DA's office.

Sexton is represented by the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, which does not comment on individual cases. His next court date is Friday.