For Immediate Release: October 28, 2010

Woman Arrested for Exploiting Grandmother for Insurance Money

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Dawn Hathcock Morris, 40, of 32568 Pennington Road, Albemarle, for an array of charges connected to alleged exploitation of her grandmother.

Morris is charged with one count each of exploitation of an elder adult, uttering a forged instrument and obtaining property by false pretense over $100,000, and two counts each of insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretense.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators accuse Morris of collecting insurance claim checks from an October 2009 house fire that destroyed her grandmother's residence. Investigators allege that Morris falsely presented herself as having power of attorney for her grandmother, deposited the checks without her grandmother's knowledge, and filed a false lease agreement , which caused the insurance company to pay for a residence that the grandmother was not actually living in. Morris is also accused of depositing an altered claims check into her account.

In a separate incident in August 2006, Morris is accused of forging proof of power of attorney for her grandmother and cashing out the full amount of her grandmother's life insurance policy without authorization.

As a result of the alleged crimes, Morris fraudulently received $207,823.05 from Kemper Auto and Home Insurance, $4,928.74 from Wachovia Bank and $6,315.47 from her grandmother.

Morris was arrested on Oct. 25 in Stanly County and placed under a $40,000 secured bond. She is to appear in court on Nov. 1.

The Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud. So far in 2010, these criminal investigators have seen more than 268 cases successfully closed with more than $18.5 million in restitution and recoveries, 54 criminal convictions and 89 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--