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LAWRENCE R. SELLARS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/27/89)

decided: July 27, 1989.

LAWRENCE R. SELLARS, PETITIONER,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, RESPONDENT



COUNSEL

Robert E. Welsh, Jr., Philadelphia, for petitioner.

Zella M. Smith, Asst. Counsel, Ins. Dept., Victoria A. Reider, Deputy Chief Counsel, and Linda J. Wells, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Barry and McGinley, JJ., and Kalish, Senior Judge.

Author: Kalish

[ 128 Pa. Commw. Page 562]

Lawrence Sellars (petitioner) petitions for review of an order of the Insurance Commissioner (Commissioner), revoking all insurance licenses held by petitioner and invoking a civil penalty of $3000. We affirm.

The Insurance Department initiated this action on January 9, 1987, alleging that petitioner had violated the insurance laws. Following a hearing, the Commissioner found that in October of 1982, petitioner was convicted in Alaska for fraudulent violations in connection with the insurance business. The convictions were overturned on appeal. As part of a plea bargain arrangement, petitioner subsequently pled nolo contendere to a count of scheming to defraud in connection with insurance matters in the State of Alaska, was placed on probation, and was ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution. The Insurance Department was aware of this in 1984. In July of 1984, petitioner submitted two applications

[ 128 Pa. Commw. Page 563]

    for an agent's license to the State of Pennsylvania, which were approved in August of 1984.

On each of the applications, petitioner answered, "No" to the question, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime." At the time that petitioner answered the question, his convictions were on appeal, but had not yet been overturned.

The Commissioner held that petitioner violated sections 4 and 5 of the Unfair Insurance Practices Act, Act of July 22, 1974, P.L. 589, as amended, 40 P.S. §§ 1171.4 and 1171.5, by falsely stating on two applications that he had not been convicted of any crime, when in fact, he had been convicted in connection with a fraudulent insurance program in Alaska in 1982.

Petitioner contends that the Insurance Department's action is barred by section 5524(5) of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524(5), because the Insurance Department knew in 1984 of petitioner's criminal convictions,*fn1 but waited until January 9, 1987 to file its order to show cause seeking revocation of petitioner's license.

Section 5524(5) of the Judicial Code provides:

The following actions and proceedings must be commenced ...


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