Former Bettendorf insurance agent given deferred sentence in fraud case

A former Bettendorf insurance agent has been given a deferred sentence and placed on five years of supervised probation in connection with a fraud and theft case.

Billie J. Holmberg, 50, of Davenport, was ordered by Judge Stuart Werling to pay $2,345 in restitution during a sentencing hearing Feb. 1 in Scott County District Court.

If she completes the terms of her probation, the conviction will not be entered on her record.

Holmberg pleaded guilty in December to commission of specified unlawful activity, a Class B felony that carries a possible prison sentence of up to 25 years.

In exchange for her plea, Scott County prosecutors dismissed additional charges of forgery and second-degree theft at sentencing.

The Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau launched an investigation into Holmberg and discovered that the theft occurred between February 2015 and March 2016.

According to an arrest affidavit filed in July, Holmberg was employed at the time as an office secretary with the Belk Insurance Agency in Bettendorf.

Chance McElhaney, communications director and legislative liaison for the Iowa Insurance Division, said she also was a licensed insurance producer.

Holmberg altered and endorsed a series of checks totaling more than $7,000, according to the affidavit.

The checks were from insurance policyholders of American National Property and Casualty Insurance Company and were intended to pay for insurance premiums, according to the affidavit.

Instead, Holmberg deposited the insurance premium proceeds into her own bank accounts and used the funds for personal use, according to the affidavit.

An arrest warrant was issued in July; she made her first appearance on the charges in September.

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said in a news release Monday that Holmberg is no longer authorized to sell insurance in Iowa and her license was revoked on April 4.

“This type of conduct cannot and will not be tolerated as consumers need to be able to put their trust in their insurance agents,” he said in the release. “The vast majority of licensed agents are doing right by their clients every single day, but we will continue to work to bring cases like this to prosecutors in order to protect Iowans.”

--Tara Becker

Home, vehicles damaged in Bettendorf shooting

Bettendorf police are investigating a shots-fired incident that occurred Sunday afternoon.

Police were called at 12:56 p.m. to the 2500 block of Magnolia Drive.

Police confirmed a shooting, and that some of the rounds entered a residence at 2540 Magnolia Drive and hit two vehicles parked nearby.

At the time of the shooting the residence was occupied but no injuries were reported, according to a news release from the city of Bettendorf.

A vehicle possibly was observed driving by with three or four occupants, but no vehicle description is available.

Anyone with information related to this incident please call Bettendorf Police Department at 563-344-4015, then press 9, or call Crime Stoppers of the Quad-Cities at 309-762-9500.

--Times staff

Woman in school meal program theft gets suspended sentence, probation

A former executive for the School Nutrition Association of Iowa was given a suspended 25-year prison sentenced and placed on five years of probation after admitting to stealing more than $150,000 from the organization.

If she successfully completes the terms of her probation, Norma Jean Adams will not have to serve the prison sentence.

Adams must also pay $156,248.25 in restitution and continue treatment with Gambler’s Anonymous and Center for Alcohol and Drug Services, District Court Judge Patrick McElyea ordered during a sentencing hearing Thursday in Scott County District Court.

The 74-year-old pleaded guilty in October to commission of specified unlawful activity, a Class B felony and agreed to pay $100,000 of the restitution prior to sentencing.

However, District Court Judge Mark Cleve rejected the plea agreement at her sentencing hearing on Nov. 30 and gave her the opportunity to take back her guilty plea.

He cited the nature of the circumstances, the amount of money taken, and her two prior felony theft convictions as his basis for rejecting the plea.

The case was set for a final pretrial conference on March 7.

On Jan. 23, Chief District Judge Marlita Greve set a sentencing date for Thursday, according to court records.

According to a report filed June 1 by Iowa State Auditor Mary Mosiman, from Jan. 1, 2010, through July 31, 2016, an audit discovered $166,895.25 that was submitted to Adams but never made it into the association's account.

The checks, which came from dozens of school districts and food companies to pay fees for association events, were diverted for Adams' personal expenses and to support her addiction to casino gambling, the report said.

Adams admitted to taking the money in an interview with auditors and a Davenport police detective, saying she had blown through her personal funds "and then I took some money from the association," according to the report.

At one point, she said she felt "so guilty" about what she had done in 2014 that she paid back $10,650 but hid the reason for the repayment on financial documents, the report said.

She was arrested June 28 and was released from the Scott County Jail after posting $1,000 cash bond.

LaRae Doll, president of the School Nutrition Association of Iowa, wrote a letter filed in Scott County District Court Feb. 8 that the theft caused a great financial hardship to the association.

She noted in her letter that Adams agreed to pay $100,000 in one lump sum and that the association "would rather have that payment of restitution rather than see prison time imposed, even though the defendant certainly deserves punishment for her actions."

--Tara Becker


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