DOI News

For Immediate Release: Contact:
November 2, 2009 Kristin Milam
Johanna Royo
Former Insurance Agent Pleads Guilty to 16 Counts of Embezzlement, Pays $11,140
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today issued an update on the criminal investigations case involving Jennifer Hughes Puckett, 30, 163 Woodside Dr., Rockingham. Puckett appeared today in Carthage at the Moore County District Court and pleaded guilty to 16 counts of embezzlement by an insurance agent; as part of the plea deal, she paid $11,140.82 in restitution and will serve probation for 24 months.
Investigators with the Department of Insurance's Criminal Investigations Division arrested Puckett in April on embezzlement charges after receiving a complaint from one of her former clients who discovered their insurance policy was fake. During their investigation, investigators found that she had pocketed more than $9,000 in premiums for auto, homeowner, rental and other insurance policies that never existed.
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 --