Insurance agent pleads guilty in $8.2M promissory note scam

A Pittsburgh-area insurance agent has pleaded guilty in a promissory note scam that federal prosecutors say defrauded customers out of $8.2 million since 2002.

John Hogan pleaded guilty Thursday to five counts of mail fraud.

He was a licensed insurance agent in Swissvale who also claimed to be a financial planner, though he wasn't licensed to sell investment products.

Prosecutors say the 77-year-old sold whole life insurance policies to some 80 investors, then persuaded them to draw out the cash value of those policies so he could lend their money to other clients. Hogan promised they'd get at least a 10 percent return, but prosecutors say he used the cash to pay off business loans.

Sentencing is Aug. 30. Prosecutors are expected to seek at least five years in prison.