A San Diego attorney was sentenced to just over one year in prison Wednesday for stealing more than $500,000 in life insurance premium payments.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Howard Abbott, 76, served as the trustee on a life insurance policy purchased by the victim in 2009.

The victim regularly provided Abbott with funds so he could make premium payments, but prosecutors say the policy was terminated in 2015 for non- payment.

Abbott hid the policy's termination by forging documents, among other methods, and kept $515,900 of the money the victim sent to him, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The victim discovered the policy's termination after the person insured by the policy died in 2019. The victim, who paid $1.8 million in total for the policy's purchase and premium payments, should have received a death benefit of $2.5 million, but instead got nothing.

Abbott pleaded guilty last year to a federal wire fraud charge.

"For years, the defendant claimed to be making premium payments, but was really pocketing the money," U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said. "The defendant has received a just sentence for his elaborate deception and for theft that resulted in significant loss to the victim."

In addition to prison, Abbott will spend one year in home confinement after he's released from custody and was ordered by a judge on Wednesday to pay $1.8 million in restitution to the victim.

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