North Carolina Insurance Fraud Round-Up: March

April 9, 2019

The North Carolina Department of Insurance announced multiple fraud enforcement actions during the month of March 2019.

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.

“Insurance fraud affects our economy. Not only does it damage insurance companies, it cheats businesses and consumers too,” Causey said. “This kind of white-collar crime is unacceptable. That’s why I’ve doubled the number of Special Agents to investigate insurance fraud. Cracking down on fraud will put more money in the pockets of businesses and consumers.”

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

Mooresville Man Charged with Insurance Fraud

Darren Jacob Surratt, 35, of Mooresville, N.C., was arrested and charged with insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretense, both felonies, according to a March 8 statement from the North Carolina Department of Insurance.

Special Agents with the Department of Insurance’s Criminal Investigations Division accuse Surratt of taking out an automobile insurance policy with Permanent General Assurance Corp. just hours after having an auto accident on Jan. 7, and then filing an insurance claim for payment three days later.

According to the arrest warrant, Surratt also received $419.89 from the insurance company for payment for a rental car after filing the fraudulent insurance claim.

Special Agents, along with Mooresville police, arrested Surratt on March 4. He was released on an unsecured bond pending an April 4 date in Davidson County District Court.

Fletcher Man Accused of Filing False Stolen Vehicle Claim

James Anthony Bowman, 36, of Fletcher, N.C., was charged with insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretense, both felonies, according to a March 8 statement from NCDOI.

According to the arrest warrant, Bowman falsely reported to National General Insurance Co. that his Lexus ES 350 was stolen. The insurance company provided Bowman with a rental vehicle and a $9,710 settlement as a result of the claim, the warrant says.

The offenses occurred on July 1, 2018.

Special Agents with the Department of Insurance’s Criminal Investigations Division, along with Buncombe County deputies, arrested Bowman on Feb. 11. He was released on a written promise to appear in court.

Greensboro Man Accused of Filing Claim with 2 Insurers

Taekwon Connor, 42, of Greensboro was charged with insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretense, both felonies, according to a March 8 statement from Causey.

Special Agents with the Department of Insurance’s Criminal Investigations Division accuse Connor of filing a claim with N.C. Farm Bureau Insurance for damages to his 2011 Infiniti that had been previously paid for by Nationwide Insurance.

The offenses occurred between May 14, 2018, and July 19, 2018.

Special Agents along with State Highway Patrol troopers arrested Connor on Feb. 10. He was released on a written promise to appear in court.

Waxhaw Woman Arrested for False Claim with GEICO

Tianda Patrice Tuft, 37, Waxhaw, N.C., was charged with insurance fraud and attempting to obtain property by false pretense, both felonies, Causey said in a statement on March 8.

Special Agents with the NCDOI Criminal Investigations Division accuse Tuft of filing a claim with Geico Insurance Co. for damage to a vehicle while knowing that the damage was from a previous claim with a different insurance company.

According to the criminal summons, the offenses occurred between Nov. 5, 2018, and Jan. 2, 2019.

Special Agents, along with Union County deputies, served Tuft with a criminal summons on Feb. 18. She is scheduled to appear in court in Union County on March 14.

High Point Man Accused of Filing Duplicate Claim with Allstate

Jamarus Jaquis Hamilton, 25, of High Point, N.C., was arrested and charged with felony insurance fraud, NCDOI said in a statement on March 8.

Special Agents with the Department of Insurance’s Criminal Investigations Division accuse Hamilton of filing a claim with Allstate Insurance for damages to a 2006 Dodge Charger on July 15, 2018, knowing that a claim had been filed with the insurance company for the same damages on June 21, 2018.

Hamilton was arrested on Feb. 20. He was given a $500 secured bond.

High Point Man Accused of Scamming Progressive

Jason Lee Hinson, 46, of High Point, N.C., was charged with felony insurance fraud, NCDOI reported on March 8.

Special Agents with the Department of Insurance’s Criminal Investigations Division accuse Hinson of providing false information relating to an auto policy claim with Progressive Insurance.

According to a criminal summons. Hinson’s vehicle was damaged at 6:39 a.m. on Aug. 2, 2018. He renewed a canceled policy with Progressive later that morning, at 10:14 a.m., and filed a damage claim on Aug. 8, 2018.

Special Agents and Guilford County deputies served Hinson with a criminal summons on Feb. 25. He was scheduled to be in Guilford County District Court on March 11.

Yadkin County Woman Accused of Renters’ Insurance Fraud

Shawntel Gonzalez, 29, of Jonesville, N.C., charged with felony insurance fraud, Causey said in a statement March 12.

According to the arrest warrant, Gonzalez provided Assurant Insurance Co. with a fraudulent lease as a part of an insurance liability claim involving a structure fire.

The offense occurred between Oct. 18, 2018, and Dec. 18, 2018.

Special Agents with NCDOI Criminal Investigations Division and Yadkin County deputies arrested Gonzalez on March 8. She was given a $1,500 secured bond pending a March 20 appearance in Yadkin County District Court.

N.C. Volunteer Fire Chief Convicted of Insurance Fraud, Embezzlement

A former Johnston County volunteer fire chief was convicted March 13 after filing fraudulent insurance claims for fire department equipment and given probation and ordered to repay more than $23,000 he took, Causey said in a statement.

Kenan Wayne Kearney, 45, of Four Oaks, N.C., pleaded guilty in Johnston County Superior Court to six felony counts of insurance fraud, seven counts of felony embezzlement, and 12 counts of felony obtaining property by false pretense. Kearney was the former chief of the Blackman’s Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department.

Superior Court Judge Tanya T. Wallace gave Kearney a six to 17-month suspended sentence on the condition that he pay $23,841 in restitution, court costs, and submit to 36 months of supervised probation. Kearney was also ordered not to hold a position of trust or a position to handle funds and to notify the state fire marshal within 14 days of being employed with a fire department.

“This is a sad day for the dedicated volunteer firefighters in Johnston County because Mr. Kearney held a position of trust with them,” Causey said. “But it’s also a good day, because justice has been served, and the fire department and insurance company will be reimbursed for their losses.”

According to court documents, Kearney turned in claims for four portable radios, a portable air pack, and a thermal imaging device, falsely saying that they were either lost or damaged between 2013 and 2017.

Charlotte Man Charged with Felony for Fraudulently Obtaining Auto Policy

Terrell Deon-Ellis Johnson, 41, of Charlotte, N.C., was charged with a felony for attempting to obtain property by false pretense, NCDOI said in a statement March 20.

Special Agents with the NCDOI Insurance’s Criminal Investigations Division accuse Johnson of obtaining an auto insurance policy from National General Insurance Co. the afternoon of Dec. 12, 2018, after his vehicle had been involved in an accident earlier that morning.

According to a criminal summons, Johnson filed a claim for $10,498 with the insurance company on Dec. 13, 2018, saying that the accident occurred at 7 p.m. the previous day.

Johnson was served with a criminal summons on March 11 and given an April 8 date in Mecklenburg County District Court.

Denver Woman Accused of Insurance Fraud Involving Lapsed Policy

Madalena Carroll Nisi, 52, of Denver, N.C., was charged with felony insurance fraud, according to a March 20 statement from NCDOI.

According to a criminal summons, Nisi’s vehicle was involved in a wreck on Nov. 30, 2018, at approximately 12:37 p.m. She called Geico at 12:50 p.m. that day to reinstate her lapsed coverage, the summons says.

Special Agents with the Department of Insurance’s Criminal Investigations Division say Nisi then filed a claim with the insurance company, saying the wreck occurred at 1 p.m. on that date.

Little was served with a criminal summons on March 13 and ordered to appear in Lincoln County District Court on April 5.

Castle Hayne Woman Accused of Falsely Reporting Accident to Nationwide

Jeneva Powell, 25, of 578 Island Creek Road, Castle Hayne was arrested and charged with felony insurance fraud, according to a March 28 statement from NCDOI.

Special Agents with the NCDOI’s Criminal Investigations Division accuse Powell of falsely reporting to Nationwide Insurance Co. the details of how damage occurred to her SUV when, in fact, the damage was the result of an argument between Powell and her boyfriend.

According to the arrest warrant, the offense occurred on Nov. 1, 2018.

Powell was arrested on March 14. An Onslow County magistrate gave Powell a $2,800 unsecured bond.

Greensboro Woman Charged with Filing False Claim to Progressive

Madalena Carroll Nisi, 52, of Denver, N.C., was charged with felony insurance fraud, Causey reported March 28.

According to a criminal summons, Porter filed a false claim to Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. about rear-end damage to her 2015 Nissan Sentra.

The offense occurred between July 10, 2018, and March 11, 2019.

Special Agents with NCDOI’s Criminal Investigations Division served Porter with a criminal summons on March 15. She is due in Guilford County District Court on April 15.

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