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The sentence was announced Wednesday afternoon by Christopher R. Thyer, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; David T. Resch, Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Deborah Perry, Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration
Lile was president of the now defunct Cosmopolitan Life Insurance Co., based in Little Rock, which funded and managed self-insurance healthcare plans for small businesses around the state.
On Sept. 19, 2014, Lile pleaded guilty to embezzling Cosmopolitan funds. Specifically, Lile admitted that he abused his position by using a company-issued American Express credit card to pay for thousands of dollars in personal expenses over a three-year period, including family vacations to Las Vegas, Florida, and Italy, restaurant supplies, luxury cruises, visits to tanning salons, Hannah Montana concert tickets, and outlet mall shopping sprees.
In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Wright ordered Lile to pay $118,500 in restitution to Cosmopolitan (now in receivership with Arkansas Insurance Dept.) and to serve three years of supervised release upon the conclusion of his prison term.
“We all need healthcare sooner or later. When the time comes, we rely upon insurance providers to help bear the costs,” said Thyer. “We trust that those who run such companies will act in the best interest of their insureds. When they do not, the consequences are far reaching. Matt Lile treated Cosmopolitan like his own personal piggy bank. The United States Attorney’s Office will aggressively pursue anyone who, like Lile, abuses our trust.”
“While Lile held a position of trust and responsibility, he inappropriately took thousands of dollars to finance his own lifestyle, and today’s sentencing makes a strong statement that this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” stated Resch. “We appreciate the efforts made by the United States Attorney’s Office and the United States Department of Labor, and together we will remain vigilant in investigating healthcare fraud.”
“I hope this sends a clear message to all who sponsor or transact business with employee benefit plans that the federal government will aggressively pursue those who commit crimes against employees and retirees of private-sector health and pension plans,” said Perry.
The FBI and the U.S. Department of Labor led the investigation.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick C. Harris and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander D. Morgan prosecuted the case for the United States.