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Local Excavation Business Left Without Insurance Coverage After Scam
By David Gonzalez
A local business owner who says he is one of more than 25 victims scammed by a local insurance agent says the scam left his company and employees without any insurance coverage.
Last week, a ten month long fraud investigation led to the arrest in Clay county of 47-year-old Shawn Chambers.
He is charged with insurance fraud and misapplication of funds.
Authorities say Chambers, an independent agent for the Service Insurance Group or SIG in Wichita Falls, did not forward money for premiums to insurance companies.
They say he would transfer the money to his own bank account.
Shawn Mahler, co-owner of Bobby Bounds Excavation, says his premiums have now more than doubled as the investigation continues.
Mahler says before Chambers' scam, all of his policies totaled about $70,000 a year but now they're having to pay about $167,000.
Mahler says he still can't believe his company and his employees went months without insurance coverage before realizing he'd been the victim of an insurance scam.
"It fell apart whenever we bought this house and we basically rehabbed this house; brought it in as our office. Well the bank called back to verify insurance and SIG said you don't have any insurance.
Mahler says Chambers misapplied premiums given to him for insurance coverage.
"We have no workers comp, no general liability, no anything," Mahler says. "We were pretty much dead in the water."
In addition, he says, "That's when we had to pull everybody off of the, we had the regional airport going, we had the city streets going. We had to pull everybody off of all projects immediately."
Mahler says they are now insured but even though Chambers' scam caused a lapse in coverage, his company is still paying for it.
"They don't care that it wasn't our fault. They just see heavy equipment company, no insurance for six months. You're going up," Mahler says.
He says they plan to sue to Chambers and SIG for damages to try and get some of their money back.
We contacted SIG corporate representatives who say they would provide a statement but we have not yet received one.