DOI News

For Immediate Release: Contact:
April 9, 2009 Kristin Milam
Johanna Royo
Long-Time Agent Pleads Guilty to 11 Counts of Felony Embezzlement
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announces the conviction and sentencing of Kenneth Rick Morrow, 43, 4625 Nix Creek Rd., Marion. Morrow was a Farm Bureau insurance agent for 19 years. After pleading guilty to 11 counts of felony embezzlement, Morrow was sentenced to 60 months supervised probation. He has also been ordered to pay restitution of $9,201 to a victim client, $38,430 to N.C. Farm Bureau and $16,188 to Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance companies.
Morrow was initially investigated by local police after a client received notice from the IRS that she failed to pay taxes on $13,000 withdrawn from her retirement account. The victim filed a police report claiming she had not withdrawn the funds. According to the investigation, Morrow admitted to forging his client's signature and withdrawing the money for his own financial obligations.
This case led to an investigation by the Department of Insurance with Farm Bureau special investigators. According to Department investigators, Morrow sold insurance policies to clients but failed to remit the premiums to N.C. Farm Bureau and Southern Farm Bureau Life.
Individual policyholders affected by this case have had their policies reinstated by both N.C. Farm Bureau and Southern Farm Bureau Life. Morrow has surrendered his insurance license to the NCDOI Agent Services Division.
"This conviction means not only money returned to Morrow's victims, but money in the pockets of all North Carolinians," said Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. "Those who commit insurance fraud are stealing from the honest workers in our state."
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 --