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Jericho insurance broker pleads guilty to defrauding clients, prosecutors say

An insurance broker from Jericho pleaded guilty in Nassau County Court Monday to charges that he stole more than $800,000 from his clients and used the money for country clubs, gambling and Mercedes-Benz payments, said acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas' office.

Joseph Koch, 57, of Holiday Pond Road, who was president of the Louis Koch Insurance Agencies in Baldwin, pleaded guilty to second degree grand larceny and first degree scheme to defraud before acting Supreme Court Justice Helene Gugerty. He is due back in court on Dec. 8.

"Clients trusted the defendant, but he betrayed that trust and used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle," Singas said in a statement. "Because of the defendant's theft, his clients were left without coverage and were exposed to serious liability issues."

Koch's attorney, Anthony Capetola of Williston Park, could not be reached for comment.

Prosecutors said Koch was arrested on Aug. 30, 2012, as part of an investigation by the Nassau district attorney's office and the New York State Department of Financial Services.

Singas' office said that Koch pocketed his clients' money, including $648,074.13 in insurance premiums from a Queens commercial property management company, that were not delivered to insurance firms he represented.

"Koch also failed to forward insurance premium payments made by other clients to insurance companies and insurance brokers, including $51,244.50 to a Cincinnati-based insurance company; $20,000 to a Woodbridge, New Jersey-based insurance broker; and $2,525.40 to a Fairview Park, Ohio-based insurance broker," said Singas' office.

Koch's victims also included a Queens property management company and a Florida woman from whom he stole $97,546.94 between March 30, 2005, and July 31, 2012, authorities said. The theft was of funds that Koch was supposed to forward to the woman from three of her nephews and a niece, and which was to be paid out in increments.

In all, prosecutors said, Koch stole $829,963.53, adding that he has paid back $472,000 in partial restitution.

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