A former attorney with offices in Arlington and McAllen, Texas was sentenced to five years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to insurance fraud and barratry, or litigation for profit, the Tarrant County district attorney's office said.
Richard Kent Livesay schemed to bill insurers for fraudulent hailstorm damage to roofs without the knowledge or consent of homeowners, the district attorney said.
He was arrested in June of last year, said Samantha K. Jordan of the district attorney's office. He would have received more than $300,000 in fraudulent payments if his fraud hadn't been discovered first by investigators from the Texas Department of Insurance, Jordan said.
“Texas attorneys take a solemn oath to uphold the laws of this state,” Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson said in a statement. “Breaking that oath to game the system for a quick buck is an unacceptable abuse of trust.”
In addition to his prison sentence, Livesay will be required to provide restitution to his victims, surrender his law license and testify against others who authorities say participated in the scheme.
“We hope this sentence sends a message that this conduct will not be tolerated in our county,” said Matt Smid, the Tarrant County prosecutor who handled the case.
Tarrant County is one of six locations around the state where the Texas Department of Insurance has embedded prosecutors and investigators in district attorneys’ offices focused on fighting insurance fraud.
Livesay began filing fraudulent claims in May 2014 and continued through July 2016, Jordan said.
Livesay's license to practice law was suspended for one year in 2017, according to an agreed judgment with the State Bar of Texas. Livesay entered into the agreement after a State Bar of Texas review panel ruled that he engaged in behavior that constituted professional misconduct.