North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin announced this week charges stemming from two alleged insurance fraud schemes.
Authorities said Eric Delano Smith was arrested on Aug. 20 and charged with five counts of insurance fraud, four counts of obtaining property by false pretense and one count of attempting to obtain property by false pretense. He was placed under a $10,000 bond. In addition, investigators have charged Robert Thomas White with one count each of insurance fraud and attempting to obtain property by false pretense.
Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that between 2012 and 2013, Smith and White conspired to stage a series of auto accidents, after which they provided false and misleading information representing old unrepaired damage to their vehicles as new damage. The pair submitted claims to Sentry Insurance, Geico, State Farm and National General Insurance and received a total of $7,196.59.
North Carolina authorities also announced this week the arrest of William Michael Fournier; he was charged with one count each of insurance fraud, obtaining property by false pretense and filing a false police report.
Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that Fournier filed a fraudulent insurance claim with USAA Insurance in May, after reporting to police that his Troy-Built, zero-turn lawn mower had been stolen from his residence. USAA paid Fournier $2,632.24 before an investigation revealed that he did not own the lawn mower filed in the claim and that a theft had not occurred. Fournier was arrested on Aug. 25 and placed under a $5,000 bond.
The North Carolina Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn state law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating and prosecuting claims of insurance and bail bonding fraud. Since Commissioner Goodwin took office in 2009, criminal investigators have made more than 1,000 arrests, resulting in more than 500 criminal convictions with more than 200 cases currently pending in court. These efforts have delivered more than $61 million in restitution and recoveries for victims.
Source: North Carolina Department of Insurance
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