Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck has cracked down on insurance fraud since taking office Jan. 15, reporting the arrests of 11 individuals for various fraud-related activities and guilty pleas of nine people for racketeering and insurance fraud.
“Every time the citizens of Georgia write a check for an insurance premium, they are paying for insurance fraud. That is why combating fraud is one of my number one priorities. Criminals should not make a living at the expense of hard-working Georgians,” said Beck.
Beck, who vowed during his campaign defend consumers against insurance fraud, released the following details of the fraud arrests through the Georgia Department of Insurance:
- Bryan Matthew Reynolds, 39, of Woodstock, Ga., was arrested on Jan. 19 in Bibb County on two counts of insurance fraud and two counts of theft by deception. Details of the charges were not released.
- Antoine Sleiman Rached Sr., 38, of Atlanta, Ga., was arrested on Jan. 22 in Fulton County one count of insurance fraud and one count of theft by deception. Details of the charges were not released.
- Michael Lashan Heller, 42, of Columbus, Ga. was arrested on Jan. 18 in Bibb County on two counts of insurance fraud and one count of forgery in the first degree. Details of the charges were not released.
- Howard Harden, 42, of Monroe, Ga., was arrested on Jan. 24 in Walton County on one count of insurance fraud. Details of the charges were not released.
- Maria Luisa Blanco, 55, of Lawrenceville, Ga., was arrested on Jan. 25 in DeKalb County and charged with one count of selling insurance without a license. Blanco is accused of selling workers compensation policies without possessing a license to do so. She was operating out of a business known as Central Tax located in Atlanta.
- George Ashley Lewis, 42, of Lyons, Ga., was arrested on Jan. 25 in Toombs County on two counts of insurance fraud. Lewis is accused of stealing premiums from consumers. This case was worked in conjunction with the Lyons Police Department.
- Patricia Marie Crawford, 53, of Kennesaw, Ga., was arrested on Jan. 29 in Cobb County on two counts of insurance fraud, one count of identity fraud, one count of theft by deception, one count of forgery, one count of financial transaction card fraud, one count of making false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the state. Crawford is accused of acting as a licensed psychologist conducting business out of an office building and her home in Kennesaw. She turned herself in to Cobb Co. Jail on Jan. 29.
- Michael Simpson, 54, of Lawrenceville, Ga., was arrested on Feb. 6 in Gwinnett County on one count of insurance fraud. Simpson is accused of altering medical records after an auto accident that occurred in April 2016. After he was determined not at-fault, he filed a property damage and bodily injury claim with GEICO, the at-fault driver’s company. Simpson ordered an MRI and submitted medical records showing a torn meniscus. After the legitimate records were obtained, it was found that an MRI was not ordered and torn meniscus was never diagnosed.
- Marcus Kentoya Johnson, 39, of Milledgeville, Ga., was arrested on Feb. 8 in Bibb County for two counts of insurance fraud, one count of forgery, and five counts of identity fraud. Johnson is accused of staging slip and fall accidents. He would allegedly enter various businesses, claim he slipped and was injured, then would use fictitious names to file claims in an attempt to hide his identity and any sort of pattern.
- Anthony Bernard Crosby, 55, of Atlanta was arrested on Feb. 12 in Fulton County for two counts of insurance fraud, two counts of forgery, and two counts of theft by conversion. Crosby is accused of forging the declaration of insurance pages for two clients. Furthermore, he is accused of forging the signatures for the above stated clients to change the premium amounts and increase the amount of funds, which he then directed the clients to deposit the funds via wire transfer into his personal bank account in the name of a fictitious company he started.
- Founder and managing partner of GFG Strategic Advisors Dean Harrison Grant, 53, of Milledgeville, Ga. was arrested after allegedly taking money from victims for insurance-related investments that were never made. Grant is accused of receiving a total of $589,384 from his three victims for him to secure insurance related investments, $447,589 of which was taken from two elderly customers. According to GADOI, Harrison did not obtain any insurance investments with the money he received from his customers and instead used it for personal benefit. Grant faces three counts of insurance fraud, three counts of theft by taking, two counts of trafficking of an elder person, and one count of forgery in the first degree. Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office and investigators in the Fraud Unit at the Department of Insurance handle the arrest.
Nine Individuals Plead Guilty to Racketeering
An extensive three-year investigation by the Georgia Department of Insurance’s Fraud Division, in cooperation with the Bibb County District Attorney’s Office and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, has resulted in nine guilty pleas in the Bibb County Superior Court for Racketeering and Insurance Fraud.
The ring leader, Alfanza McKeever Jr., and eight co-perpetrators pled guilty to racketeering as part of an extensive insurance fraud scheme that stretched from Decatur to Macon.
McKeever, the owner of an auto body shop in Decatur, would recruit individuals to stage accidents with vehicles he owned, and then all parties involved would file claims with their auto insurance providers for vehicle damage and bodily injuries. McKeever would also add damage to vehicles in his body shop in an effort to increase payments he received from insurance companies.
“There was strong evidence McKeever had been involved in this type of activity for over 10 years and may have defrauded insurance companies of more than $250,000 in claim payments. Although Alfanza McKeever has been charged by local authorities in the past, he has always found a way to beat the legal system. This time we wanted to make sure his criminal activity ended for good,” said Beck said.
McKeever’s guilty plea resulted in a two-year prison sentence, 13 years of intensive parole, and restitution totaling $35,460. The eight co-defendants also pled guilty to racketeering and were sentenced to 15 years of probation and restitution.
“I am extremely proud of the special agents in our Fraud Division for the work they have already accomplished. My administration will continue to work hard to fight all instances of fraud in the State of Georgia,” said Beck said in a statement Jan. 25. “I am very passionate about the citizens of our state being treated fairly. Insurance fraud of any kind will not be taken lightly.”
Source: Georgia Department of Insurance
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