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O.C. Man to Be Resentenced in Fraud Case

June 18, 1997|(James S. Granelli)

A former Orange County insurance consultant is scheduled to be resentenced Monday three years after he was convicted of conspiracy and fraud in a case cited in congressional hearings as an example of how some in the industry prey on small-business owners. James B. Helm, 47, formerly of Laguna Niguel, was sentenced to a four-year term but was given the chance to obtain a reduced sentence after a federal appeals court found there wasn't enough evidence to convict him of paying kickbacks to influence operations of a pension plan. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, upheld his convictions for conspiracy, mail fraud and embezzlement. Helm and four others at Rubell Helm Insurance Services Inc. in Newport Beach, along with two who worked elsewhere, were accused of fraud, bribery and other crimes in the theft of $3.4 million in insurance premiums they collected from thousands of employees at small companies in three states. Authorities now believe that as much as $10 million was embezzled. Helm, now of Jackson, Wyo., was ordered to appear Monday before U.S. District Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer in Los Angeles. Helm's attorney, Richard Callahan, said he and his client have discussed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court but that no decision has been made.

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