North Carolina Insurance Fraud Round-Up: August

September 10, 2018

The North Carolina Department of Insurance announced multiple fraud enforcement actions during the month of August.

Insurance fraud costs American consumers approximately $80 billion dollars a year. According to North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, fraud costs North Carolinians between 15 and 20 cents of every dollar paid on insurance premiums — and it’s getting worse.

“I am determined to stem the tide of insurance fraud in this state in order to save residents money,” said Causey. “That’s why I am dedicated to the mission of our NCDOI law enforcement officers who investigate and prosecute claims of insurance and bail bonding fraud.”

Details of the incidents, as reported by NCDOI, are as follows:

Deep Run Man Arrested for Defrauding Insurer Over Accident Damage

Christopher Lamarr Outlaw of Deep Run, N.C., was charged with two felonies – insurance fraud and attempting to obtain property by false pretense – and making a false report to police, which is a misdemeanor, according to an Aug. 1 statement from Causey.

According to the arrest warrant, Outlaw reported to an insurer, Permanent General Assurance Corp., that front-end damage to his 2013 Dodge Charger occurred during a collision with a deer on March 21 when the damaged actually occurred during an earlier collision on March 8.

In addition, Outlaw is alleged to have falsely claimed all the damages from the March 8 collision had been repaired before March 21 but later admitted that only the headlight had been replaced, the warrant says. An insurance claim for the March 8 collision had been denied because of insufficient coverage, the warrant says.

Special agents with the N.C. Department of Insurance’s Criminal Investigations Division also accuse Outlaw of reporting the false deer collision damage to the State Highway Patrol.

The offenses occurred between March 21 and March 29. Lenoir County sheriff’s deputies arrested Outlaw on June 22. He was placed under $7,500 unsecured bond.

Greensboro Woman Accused of Felony Insurance Fraud Over USAA Claim

Amelia Tanisha Jones of Greensboro, N.C. was charged with felony insurance fraud, NCDOI reported on Aug. 3.

According to the warrant, Jones presented an auto insurance claim to USAA Insurance Co. on May 20 for a $3.408 claim that had already been settled and paid in March.

Special agents with the NCDOI Criminal Investigations Division arrested Jones on June 29 in Guilford County. She was released on a written promise to appear in court.

2 Martin County Women Charged with Felony Insurance Fraud

Telsey Bess and Shelice Monee Whitaker of Oak City, N.C., were arrested and both charged with felony insurance fraud by special agents with NCDOI Criminal Investigations Division, according to a NCDOI statement on Aug. 3.

According to the arrest warrant, Bess submitted a false renter’s insurance claim to Homesite Insurance Co., and Whitaker substantiated it.

The offenses occurred between Feb. 21 and June 26, according to the warrants. Special agents arrested the two on June 27 in Martin County. They were placed under a $2,000 secured bond.

Durham Man Accused of Making Fraudulent Claim for Repossessed Vehicle to Nationwide

Vernon Burton of Durham, N.C., was charged with felony insurance fraud, felony attempting to obtain property by false pretense, and filing a false report to a police station, a misdemeanor, according to a NCDOI Aug. 3 statement.

According to the arrest warrant, Burton filed an auto insurance claim with Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., saying that his vehicle had been stolen when it had actually been repossessed. Burton is also accused of filing a similar report with the Durham Police Department.

The offenses occurred between Jan. 20, 2017, and Feb. 7, 2017. Burton was arrested by the Durham County Sheriff’s Office on June 26 and placed under $2,500 unsecured bond.

Special Agents Charge Raleigh Man with Fraud in 2 Counties

Dakwon Antonio Bunch of Raleigh, N.C. Bunch has been charged with two counts of felony insurance fraud, one count of felony obtaining property by false pretense, and one count of attempting to obtain property by false pretense, also a felony, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey announced Aug. 3.

Special agents with the NCDOI Criminal Investigations Division accuse Bunch of presenting false information for two separate insurance claims with Geico Indemnity Co.

According to arrest warrants, Bunch provided the claims adjustor with a RimTyme rental agreement in support of a theft claim for four rims and tires, which had been used to support a previous theft claim for the same merchandise. RimTyme sells and leases custom wheels and tires. That offense occurred in Harnett County. According to the warrant, the false pretense charge consisted of Bunch receiving $1,149 for that claim.

In the second claim, which occurred in Cumberland County, Bunch provided the claims adjuster with a forged RimTyme rental agreement for rims and tires that were reportedly stolen, the warrant says.

The offenses occurred on Dec. 27, 2017, and Feb. 4, 2018. Bunch turned himself in to the Raleigh Police Department on June 26. He was placed under $10,000 unsecured bond.

Owner of Charlotte Roofing Firm Arrested for $60K Roof Repair Scheme

Owner of Above and Beyond Roofing, Ricardo Romero, was arrested on charges stemming from a months-long investigation into fraudulent roof repair.

Special agents from the NCDOI Criminal Investigations Division charged Romero, a resident of Charlotte, with nine felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense and nine misdemeanor counts of failing to work after being paid. He turned himself in Aug. 7 to authorities in Union County.

According to arrest warrants, Romero obtained money from nine households, seven in Wake County and two in Harnett County, and did not order materials or provide roofs. The amount paid by the nine households totaled $69,350.

NCDOI said multiple special agents from the Criminal Investigations Division were investigating Above and Beyond Roofing and Romero for months after receiving complaints that work had been contracted and that insurance claims had been filed and paid.

The Criminal Investigations Division began investigating the company after consumers filed complaints with NCDOI that Above and Beyond Roofing employees had conducted free roof inspections in the area following a September 2017 storm.

In July, special agents were granted a search warrant to inspect bank records of Romero and the roofing company. The investigation is ongoing.

Mounty Airy Couple, Daughter Charged with Insurance Fraud, Arson

Officials have filed multiple charges against a North Carolina couple and their daughter in connection with two cases of arson at homes of people the wife knew, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation told news outlets it’s filed charges against 64-year-old Bonnie Harrell Neely of Mount Airy, including 223 counts of exploitation of the elderly and two counts of second-degree arson. Her husband and daughter are also accused of insurance fraud.

The SBI said the charges stem from Bonnie Neely’s work as a caretaker, when she had access to elderly people’s money and used it improperly for at least five years.

The other charges result from arson at two homes where Bonnie Neely worked as a caretaker in 2017. The three received at least $300,000 from insurance after the fires. (Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

To report suspected fraud, contact the N.C. Department of Insurance Criminal Investigation Division at 919-807-6840. Callers may remain anonymous. Information is also available at www.ncdoi.com.

Source: North Carolina Department of Insurance

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