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DA: Ex-insurance boss went on spree with client's money

The former president of a Baldwin insurance agency was arrested Thursday, accused of stealing nearly $650,000 in premiums from one of his clients, and using the money on country club memberships, luxury car payments, and gambling trips, Nassau prosecutors said.

Joseph Koch, 54, of Jericho, was arrested by Nassau County district attorney investigators and charged with three counts of second- and third-degree grand larceny, and first-degree scheme to defraud.

Koch pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment in First District Court in Hempstead and Judge Rhonda Erin Fischer set bail at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond. He is due back in court Sept. 13.

If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Koch's lawyer, Stacy Eves, of Williston Park, did not return a message seeking comment.

District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement that between June 2009 and June 2011, Koch, then president of the Louis Koch Insurance Agencies Inc., was paid more than $648,000 by a commercial property management company with the understanding that he was to act as their agent and pay various insurance companies with the money.

Koch allegedly stole the money instead, and used it to make purchases at retail stores, pay for country club memberships, Mercedes-Benz car payments, gambling trips, mortgage payments, and his income taxes.

"Mr. Koch's theft left his client without coverage and facing potentially serious liability issues, but all he cared about was living the high life on somebody else's dime," Rice said in a statement.

The case was referred to the district attorney's office by the New York State Department of Insurance, which is now part of the State Department of Financial Services, and the arrest is the result of a joint investigation by the two agencies.

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