Former Insurance Agent Released on House Arrest in Fraud Case


Samuel Bowron Phillips of Fort Smith, who is accused of stealing money from retirement accounts of investors in his companies and then gambling it away, was released on house arrest on bond pending his trial. The stipulations of his release include no gambling, no solicitation of money and getting mental health treatment based on the decision of the court’s probation’s office.

Phillips has been accused of stealing over $1.3 million from customers and investors over a two year period. He has been charged with 11 counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering.

More from Arkansas Online:

FBI Special Agent Gary Ebbing testified during the hearing that Phillips told him he was out of money and planned to continue taking retirement money from customers of his insurance business if he hadn’t been caught. Ebbing said Phillips told him during the interview that he had a gambling addiction.

“He was very cooperative,” Ebbing said. “He admitted to everything.”


Ebbing’s testimony that Phillips admitted he would have continued trying to get money was the basis for the government’s argument that Phillips be held in custody pending disposition of his case. Acting U.S. Attorney Kenneth P. Elser said that it showed Phillips could not be trusted to refrain from criminal acts if free.

Phillips’ attorney, Rex Chronister of Fort Smith, argued that his client could not take people’s retirement funds, saying that Ebbing had also testified that agents removed all of Phillips’ records and computer equipment from his home where he conducted his business.

Chronister also said the conditions recommended by the court’s probation office were sufficient to ensure Phillips’ appearance for future court proceedings.

The Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Allen Kerr released a statement which stated that Phillips’ insurance license had been revoked on Dec. 7.


Photo by Pictures of Money via Flickr CC License

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