For Immediate Release: January 26, 2011

Bail Bonding Business Owners Accused of Filing False Statements

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Yolanda Mason Smith, 42, of 154 Lakeview Drive, Elizabethtown; she is charged with one count of each of attempting to obtain property by false pretense and obstruction of justice.

Warrants have been issued for her husband, Merlin "Jerome" Smith, 44, also of 154 Lakeview Drive, Elizabethtown, for two counts each of attempting to obtain property by false pretense and obstruction of justice, and one count of state probation violation.

Department of Insurance investigators allege that Yolanda and Merlin Smith, owners of CAB Bail Bonding, filed false statements in connection with a court motion to have bond forfeitures set aside. The investigation was initiated after the Robeson County Clerk of Courts office filed a complaint with NCDOI's Criminal Investigations Division.

Yolanda Smith was arrested on Jan. 25 with the help of the St. Pauls Police Department, processed at the Lumberton Police Department and taken to the Robeson County Magistrate's Office, where she was placed under a $3,000 secured bond.

In 2009, Merlin Smith was convicted on two counts of operating as a bail bondsman without a license, and Yolanda Smith was convicted on one count of aiding and abetting an unlicensed bail bondsman. Those convictions are under appeal in Robeson County Superior Court. Yolanda Smith's bail bonding license was revoked by the Department of Insurance in May 2010.

The Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud. In 2010, these criminal investigators have seen more than 402 cases successfully closed with more than $21.1 million in restitution and recoveries, 88 criminal convictions and 126 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--