A South Abington Twp. insurance agent pleaded guilty to collecting insurance premiums from construction companies and never buying the insurance on their behalf.

Timothy A. Hewitt, 41, billed six clients more than $200,000 for performance bond insurance without buying the insurance from Liberty Mutual, Lackawanna County Assistant District Attorney C.J. Rotteveel said Wednesday.

Hewitt pleaded guilty Monday in Lackawanna County court to five counts of insurance fraud and one count of forgery, all third-degree felonies punishable by up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000.

Rotteveel, the prosecutor for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Task Force, said he plans to seek prison time for Hewitt and restitution for the payments that never covered the companies. The companies were Arc Electric of Hazleton; Hi-Tech Flooring and Designtech Interiors, both of Kingston; Diaz Forest Products and Diaz Stone and Pallet, both of Harford; and Diaz Manufacturing of Montrose.

Fortunately, he said, the companies never had to make a claim against the phony bonds.

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