DOI News

For Immediate Release: Contact:
July 23, 2009 Kristin Milam
Johanna Royo
Six Sentenced in Staged Accident Fraud Ring
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the sentencing of six in an auto insurance fraud ring that spanned four years and netted those arrested more than $100,000 in phony insurance payments from staged auto accidents. Two other defendants have been charged in the investigation. .
According to the investigation, the defendants posed as drivers and passengers in salvage cars often bought out of state by the alleged ringleader, Rayon Lamont Artis. The defendants submitted phony medical and vehicle damage insurance claims. GMAC Insurance tipped off Department investigators to the fraud ring.
Artis, 32, of Greenville pleaded guilty to multiple counts of obtaining property by false pretense, attempting to obtain property by false pretense and conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense. He was sentenced to 32 to 36 months in prison and 48 months probation. Five other defendants also pleaded guilty and received jail time, probation or orders to pay restitution.
The N.C. Attorney General's Special Prosecutions Section and special deputy attorney general Mary Winstead, the Lenoir and Pitt County District Attorney's offices, the Lenoir and Pitt County Sherriff's Offices and the Greenville City Police Department were all involved in the investigation and prosecution.
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 --