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Prudential Must Pay $1.3 Million to Ex-Employee

May 15, 1997|DEBORA VRANA

Whistle-blower Howard Siegel on Wednesday won a $1.3-million arbitration award from Prudential Insurance Co. of America for wrongful termination and reporting forgery and so-called churning.

Siegel, 49, worked at Prudential's sales office in Woodland Hills for 13 years and reported churning activity and other wrongdoing before being fired in September 1993.

"This victory is for all the little people who know of wrong things and are squashed," Siegel said.

The company, Siegel said, routinely forged documents and used churning, or deceptive sales techniques to generate more commissions at the expense of policyholders.

After his dismissal, Siegel filed suit against Prudential, the nation's largest insurance carrier, which later had the case moved to the jurisdiction of the National Assn. of Securities Dealers, which regulates securities sales.

Only $115,000 of the award was for loss of wages; more than $1 million was for punitive damages, attorneys said.

Executives of Prudential could not be reached for comment.

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