A state district judge sentenced an Orange, Texas, man to two years in prison Tuesday for scheming to collect insurance money by assuming the identity of his long-dead brother.
A six-member jury in July convicted David Edward Joshlin Sr., 67, of attempted insurance fraud after a two-day trial in 20th Judicial District Court.
District Judge Wilson R. Ramshur also fined Joshlin $2,000, rejecting Joshlin’s claims that he is innocent.
Defense attorney Aidan Reynolds said the conviction will be appealed.
Prosecutors and investigators for the state Attorney General’s Office allege that Joshlin posed as his brother, Bennie Frank Johnson while operating a free-circulation advertising publication in East Feliciana Parish in 1990.
Bennie Frank Johnson died shortly after his birth in 1930 in Texas, they said.
In April 1991, David Joshlin reported that his brother went on a float trip down the Mississippi River but failed to show up at St. Francisville as planned.
David Joshlin later got a court order in East Feliciana Parish declaring that his brother died as the result of an accident and used the court order to file several insurance claims.
One company paid the defendant $10,417, but CNA Insurance Co. balked and initiated an investigation that led to David Joshlin’s arrest and trial.
A witness in the July trial said she and her mother also testified in June before a federal grand jury in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that apparently is investigating another insurance claim.
Joshlin told Ramshur Tuesday that the judge heard testimony in the trial that his brother lived through the 1980s, saying he had no explanation for the jury’s verdict.
Ramshur replied that he did not find that testimony credible.
“It’s more credible that your brother died within six months of his birth in the 1930s,” the judge said.
Ramshur also said Joshlin committed fraud upon the court in obtaining a declaration of accidental death and “committed perjury in this court.”
“He continues to assert that he bears no responsibility for this matter, although the evidence is rather strong against him,” the judge said.
Ramshur denied Reynolds’ request to allow Joshlin to remain free on bail pending his appeal, but the judge set a bail hearing for Oct. 10.