State investigators: Ex-Issaquah insurance agent bilked seniors

March 22, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

State insurance investigators on March 15 arrested a former Issaquah insurance agent suspected of stealing more than $1 million in retirement funds from elderly clients, and then using the money to pay for online psychics and more.

Jasmine Jamrus-Kassim faces 21 counts of first-degree theft for stealing retirement funds. Investigators said five victims — Bellevue, Renton and Seattle seniors ranging in age from 74 to 90 — made out checks to the agent, because they trusted her to reinvest the money.

Instead, investigators said she funneled the money into a personal account. Records show thousands of dollars spent on clothes, jewelry and a trip to Mexico.

The records also show large payments to online psychic advisers, including $20,000 in charges from one psychic website in a single month.

Investigators from the state Insurance Commissioner’s Office and the Washington State Patrol arrested Jamrus-Kassim, 48, at a Starbucks in Factoria.

Insurance investigators and Issaquah Police Department officers initially attempted to track her down at her former Issaquah Highlands home. The house is for sale and Jamrus-Kassim has since moved to Kent, Insurance Commissioner’s Office spokesman Rich Roesler said.

Officers booked the former insurance agent into the King County Jail after the arrest, and she soon posted $100,000 bail. Jamrus-Kassim is due in court for arraignment March 23.

“This is an appalling abuse of trust,” state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in a statement. “Vulnerable people trusted this agent with much of their life’s savings. And she just pocketed the money.”

In total, investigators suspect Jamrus-Kassim of stealing at least $1,052,088 from the victims between late 2007 and late 2009.

Investigators said the agent returned $25,503 to a 90-year-old Renton woman after the woman complained to the Insurance Commissioner’s Office. The complaint and another alert prompted the state investigation.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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