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Wanted insurance salesman arrested in South Elgin

Russell Palermo

Russell Palermo

A Huntley insurance salesman accused of collecting money for cancelled policies has been arrested in South Elgin after more than a month on the lamb.

Russell Palermo, 46, faces 29 felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from a six-month long investigation into allegations the local broker allegedly committed fraud.

He was arrested Friday outside of a condominium complex on Woodridge Circle in South Elgin following an anonymous tip in regard to his whereabouts, according to the Huntley Police Department. The surveillance team reportedly identified Palermo after he was seen outside of a second-floor condominium smoking a cigarette. He was taken into custody without incident.

Detectives searched the agency last October and seized several documents along with computers after complaints from customers. Arrest warrants were issued for Palermo in mid-February, and the agency has since closed.

Residents reportedly approached investigators in September claiming Palermo had been charging them insurance premiums with no policy in place, authorities said. Palermo is the owner and operator of Huntley-based Palermo Insurance Agency, which provides both business and personal insurance policies through several different providers.

Two customers reportedly came forward after they noticed suspicious activity on their accounts. Another resident became suspicious after Palermo allegedly took money as a down payment for an insurance policy the company had no record of being made.

A local real estate owner, who purchased business insurance from the agency in 2006, also discovered Palermo’s insurance license was revoked in 2009, which would have prevented him from legally selling or obtaining policies for customers. The premiums, which the customer had been paying, had allegedly been canceled in 2007 for non-payment.

Charges include 10 felony counts of financial responsibility, nine misdemeanor counts issuance of insurance without a license, four misdemeanor counts of financial responsibility, three felony counts of theft, a felony count of deceptive practice and a misdemeanor count of unlawful use of weapons.

Palermo is being held at the McHenry County jail on a $75,000 bond.

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