A Charlottesville insurance agent faces more than a dozen mail fraud charges after a hearing in Charlottesville Federal Court Wednesday morning. He is accused of running an insurance scheme that bilked businesses in central Virginia out of thousands of dollars.
A judge arraigned 32-year-old Graham Messer of Bremo Bluff Virginia on 13 counts of mail fraud. The federal indictment alleges Messer pretended to sell insurance under several company names from an office on Berkmar Drive. Prosecutors say he took his customers' money and never filed their policies.
Investigators say the Piedmont House in Charlottesville was one of Messer's victims. The indictment claims the halfway house sent payments for insurance policies to Messer's post office box in Bremo Bluff from June to August of last year. The government says Messer kept the money for himself and never sent the checks on to Chartis Insurance.
The indictment also lists a Sandston-based freight trucking company and C.A. Booker Hauling in Palmyra as victims of Messer's company.
Messer now operates a temporary staffing company in Tallahassee, Florida, which is where he was arrested last week.
Messer is free on an unsecured bond. His trial is set for November 28 in Charlottesville federal court. If he is convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each charge.
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