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An insurance company has filed a lawsuit against a prominent Denver minister and four affiliate church groups, for fraud alleging they filed fraudulent life insurance claims on the behalf of parishioners.

AIG Life Insurance Co. claims a Reverend and other co-defendants acquired a group life insurance policy on behalf of 315 people and falsified paperwork to safeguard that any claim payments would go directly to them, not the surviving family members of those covered.

The company paid $638,131, more than half of which went to the Reverend and other defendants said the lawsuit filed on Tuesday. On November 30, 2006, AIG terminated the policy, after paying out on seven claims, according to court records.

The lawsuit said AIG issued the group-life policy based on Phillips’ statements that it would cover Baptist ministers employed full-time by their churches. But the defendants signed up congregants for insurance coverage and altered beneficiary forms so they, rather than surviving family members, would receive more insurance proceeds, the lawsuit said.

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