A District Court judge in Kalispell has upheld an $80,000 fine the state auditor’s office levied against a Troy insurance agent for trying to sell fixed annuities to two elderly women.
State Auditor Monica Lindeen said the order also bans Martin Bower from becoming licensed to sell insurance for five years and bans him from seeking any securities registration or licensure.
Bower tried to get the women to liquidate their investments and purchase an insurance product, a fixed-index annuity, on which he stood to be paid large commissions, officials said.
The family of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease complained to the auditor’s office, saying Bower had been to the woman’s house near Ronan several times trying to sell her an annuity.
The second woman lived in an assisted living facility in Kalispell. The auditor’s office said Bower tried to obtain inappropriate control over her Glacier Bancorp stock certificates in order to sell her a fixed annuity.
Bower appealed the auditor’s fine a year ago, saying the evidence did not support the order.
District Judge Ted Lympus ruled that a review of the investigation showed there was substantial evidence to find that Bower had committed securities fraud and violated the Montana Insurance code.
Criminal charges in the case were dropped after one woman called to testify at trial couldn’t remember what transpired and the family of the other woman didn’t want her to undergo an all-day psychiatric exam to meet a defense request to seeking to confirm the Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
A phone number for Bower in Troy rang unanswered Thursday morning.
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