Local Viatical firm profiled in season debut this Friday

The popular CNBC show “American Greed” kicks off its tenth season this Friday night at 10 p.m. EST by highlighting the story of Mutual Benefits Corporation, a locally-based but internationally-known viatical firm, busted by the federal government for criminal fraud.

The episode is entitled “Friends Without Benefits.” Narrated by Stacy Keach, the feature is expected to show how Mutual Benefits bought life insurance policies from AIDS patients, the chronically ill and seniors, but then fraudulently resold them as low risk investments to clients, who were defrauded of millions of dollars.

The principles of Mutual Benefits included a number of prominent local gay figures, including attorney Anthony Livoti, and Steven Steiner, both of whom served as directors of Broward County's then largest AIDS agency, Center One. They were both convicted and sentenced to 10 and 15 years in jail, respectively.

Amongst those expected to be interviewed in the segment are the Honorable Lisa Porter, who investigated Mutual Benefits while she was an Assistant Attorney General under Charlie Crist, prosecuting insurance fraud. Porter is now a Broward County Circuit court judge. SFGN publisher Norm Kent was also interviewed for the feature, expected to discuss how the corporation reached out to the gay community to gather public support for their efforts.

"It's a sad story” Kent said. “They were huge local philanthropists living large; major players in the gay community. The problem was they were donating someone else's money. That's greed, not generosity."