Former chamber president indicted on federal fraud charges

A former Marshalltown insurance agent was indicted on federal mail fraud charges last week after allegedly defrauding customers for nearly a decade.

William Arthur Thiede, 65, is charged with five counts of mail fraud after allegedly bilking customers for $167,636.80 in payments on phony insurance policies from January 2002 until he left American Family Insurance in September 2010.

Thiede is a former president of the local chamber of commerce.

Shawna Jacobs, formerly of Marshall County, was a client of Thiede’s for nine years and shortly after Thiede resigned she learned that premiums she’d been paying on personal and business insurance were allegedly going into Thiede’s pocket.

“They weren’t legitimate,” Jacobs said. “I was extremely shocked.”

Jacobs no longer lives in the area and would not say if she plans to sue Thiede.

“I hope that other people call and inquire about their accounts,” Jacobs said.

The only named victim in the indictments is the Central Iowa Coonhunters Association based in Toledo. Attempts to call and email the president of that organization Monday were unsuccessful. The other alleged victims were referred to only by initials.

Attempts to reach Thiede were unsuccessful.