EX-INSURANCE EXECUTIVE PLEADS GUILTY TO FRAUD

EX-INSURANCE EXECUTIVE PLEADS GUILTY TO FRAUD

Robert Walker, former chief executive of the failed National County Mutual Fire Insurance Co., last week pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges stemming

from the insurer's demise, the largest in Texas history at the time.

Mr. Walker, who dropped out of sight after the company failed in December 1988 and later was apprehended in Barbados, faces up to five years in a federal prison in connection with the case. He also may be ordered to pay restitution and up to $250,000 in fines.A Dallas grand jury's indictments accuse Mr. Walker of misappropriating more than $4 million from National County and from Western Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., which he also controlled and is now insolvent. He also allegedly wrote fraudulent policies at the companies.

Last Friday, Mr. Walker pleaded guilty to a March 1988 wire transfer of $100,000 in company funds that he used to outfit his yacht in Barbados.

In return for last Friday's plea, federal prosecutors agreed to drop 28 other counts of wire and mail fraud against Mr. Walker. Sentencing is scheduled Feb. 21.

Mr. Walker also is facing a related district court order in Austin requiring him to pay state insurance regulators $55.6 million.