For Immediate Release: July 16, 2010

Contacts: Kristin Milam or Kerry Hall: 919-807-6011

Raleigh Man Arrested for Canceling Employee Health Coverage Without Notice

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Paul Joseph Stafford, 43, of 6909 Spring Dr., Raleigh; he was charged with one count of willful termination of a group health plan.

Department investigators allege that Stafford canceled his employees' Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and UnitedHealthcare group health insurance policies without providing the required 45-day notice. At least two employees accrued health care costs totaling more than $2,000 from the time their coverage was canceled until they received cancellation letters from BCBSNC in June. Stafford owned Ideas Architecture, Inc. and New Ideas, Inc. before they went out of business.

Stafford was processed at the Wake County Public Safety Center and placed under a $3,000 secured bond.

The Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud. To date in 2010, these criminal investigators have seen more than 150 cases successfully closed with more than $3.5 million in restitution and recoveries, more than 30 criminal convictions and more than 50 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 Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840. Callers may remain anonymous. Information is also available at www.ncdoi.com.

--NCDOI--