DOI News

For Immediate Release: Contact:
April 23, 2009 Kristin Milam
Johanna Royo
Woman is Eighth Arrested in Accident Fraud Ring
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Latosha Nicole Smith, 22, 2617 Jefferson Dr., Greenville. Smith turned herself in to the Kinston Department of Public Safety where she was processed and placed under a $10,000 secured bond. Smith is charged with one count of obtaining property by false pretense.
Smith is the eighth person arrested for her part in what Department investigators are calling an auto insurance fraud ring. According to the investigation, those arrested staged auto accidents for more than four years and stole more than $100,000 in phony insurance payments. So far, all those arrested, except one, have pled guilty to the charges against them.
"The Greenville City Police Department, Kinston Department of Public Safety and the Pitt and Lenior County Sherriff's Offices were vital to this investigation, and the Department and I appreciate their ongoing assistance," said Commissioner Goodwin.
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 --