DOI News

For Immediate Release: Contact:
May 18, 2009 Kristin Milam
Johanna Royo
Smithfield Woman Arrested on Charges of Embezzlement, Insurance Fraud
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Jessica Brandy Hinnant, 28, 612 S. First St., Smithfield. According to Department of Insurance investigators, Hinnant collected nearly $35,000 in phony disability claims.
Department investigators allege:
While working as an Aflac insurance agent, Hinnant reported that she suffered from carpel tunnel syndrome and that her husband sustained physical injuries from falling down the stairs in their home. She submitted numerous disability claims to Aflac citing both her injuries and her husband's injuries, and from February 2004 to October 2007, she received claim checks totaling $34,921.66. Aflac representatives questioned the validity of the claims and turned the case over to authorities after her husband contacted the company to determine whether any claims had been filed against his policy.
Hinnant was charged with 10 counts of obtaining property by false pretense and one count of insurance fraud. She turned herself into Department of Insurance investigators and was processed at the Johnston County Sheriff's Department, where she was placed under $50,000 secured bond. In June 2008, Hinnant surrendered her insurance agent's license to the Department.
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 --