DOI News

For Immediate Release: Contact:
October 26, 2009 Kristin Milam
Johanna Royo
Brother and Sister Arrested and Accused of Auto Give-Up
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Wanda Nichols Covington, 36, 530 Piney Woods Road, Lewiston Woodville and her brother; Thomas Nichols Jr., 32, 530 Piney Wood Road, Lewiston Woodville. According to the arrest warrant, Covington is accused of filing false paperwork in May 2009 with Progressive Insurance Company, claiming her car had been stolen from her home. Covington received $11,259.35 for her 2007 Hyundai Sonata.
Law enforcement officials found the car, partially burned, in the near-by town of Aulander. Investigators allege Wanda Covington hired her brother, Thomas Nichols Jr., to dispose of her car. He is charged with obtaining property by false pretense, insurance fraud and felony conspiracy. Wanda Covington is charged with felony obtaining property by false pretense, insurance fraud and felony conspiracy. Both were placed under $10,000 unsecured bonds at the Bertie County Sheriff's Department.
The Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud. So far in 2009, these criminal investigators have seen more than 241 cases successfully closed with more than $9.7 million in restitution and recoveries, 67 criminal convictions and 123 arrests and 92 cases pending in court.
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 --