A suspended North Carolina volunteer fire chief has been arrested on felony insurance fraud and embezzlement charges, according to a statement from the North Carolina Department of Insurance.
Kenan Wayne Kearney, 44, of Four Oaks in Johnston County was arrested on April 25 and charged with six counts of insurance fraud and seven counts of embezzlement. He was placed under a $25,000 secured bond. Kearney was chief of the Blackman’s Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department. He was suspended from the chief’s role following a prior arrest by the Johnston County Sheriff’s office.
Special agents with the NCDOI Criminal Investigations Division accuse Kearney of falsely presenting statements supporting insurance claims on an American Alternative Insurance Co. policy. NCDOI said he is also accused of converting $25,889.31 in insurance claim payments intended for the fire department to his own use.
Kearney is alleged to have turned in claims for four portable radios, a portable air pack, and a thermal imaging device, claiming they were lost or damaged, when in fact they weren’t lost or damaged.
“It’s heart-breaking to see a person charged with the trust of volunteer firefighters accused of such serious crimes,” said North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said. “I hope the firefighters and the people in the fire district will rally around the department as it moves forward following this sad news.”
Insurance fraud costs American consumers approximately $80 billion dollars a year. According to Causey, fraud costs North Carolinians between 15 and 20 cents of every dollar paid on insurance premiums.
Source: North Carolina Department of Insurance
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