DENVER (AP) — The owner of a Colorado-based rural health brokerage has pleaded guilty to mail fraud, embezzling plan funds and money laundering.

The U.S. attorney’s office says 60-year-old Gerald Rising Jr. entered his plea Wednesday in federal court in Denver and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 20. He owned and operated Centennial-based Rural Health Plans Initiative Administration Co.

The company sold and administered health-benefit and employee-welfare plans to clients including school districts in Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma.

He was accused of mixing trust funds from various clients to pay claims, in violation of trust agreements. He also was accused of falsely saying claims were paid and of kiting checks.

Prosecutors say at least 50 individuals, businesses and governmental agencies were victims, with losses totaling at least $2.5 million.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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