DOI News

For Immediate Release: Contact:
April 1, 2009 Kristin Milam
Johanna Royo
Woman Arrested on Charges of Embezzlement, At least 14 Scammed
RALEIGH -- - Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Jennifer Hughes Puckett, 30, 163 Woodside Dr., Rockingham, on 10 charges of embezzlement. According to the arrest warrant, Puckett, a licensed insurance agent and the owner of Abbott Insurance Group, 1100 Seven Lakes N., West End, took approximately $9,000 in premiums for fake insurance policies between October 1, 2007 and February 1, 2009. So far investigators have identified 14 victims of this scam. These are clients who were issued fraudulent Certificates of Insurance and believed they were covered by various auto, homeowner, rental or other insurance policies. According to the investigation, Puckett took the premium money for herself.
A complaint from a consumer who discovered the policy they held was fake, led to the investigation. Puckett was taken to Moore County Detention Center in Carthage and placed under a $10,000 secured bond. She closed Abbott Insurance Group in February.
The Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud. In 2008, these investigators saw more than 453 cases successfully closed with more than $5.8 million in restitution and recoveries, 60 criminal convictions and 130 arrests.
An estimated 10 cents of every dollar paid in premiums goes toward the payment of fraudulent claims. To report suspected fraud, contact the Department of Insurance Investigations Division at (919) 807-6840. Callers may remain anonymous. Information is also available at the NC-DOI Web site.
-- NCDOI --