For Immediate Release: February 9, 2011

Auto Body Shop Owner Arrested on Charge of Insurance Fraud

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Anthony Martin Hernandez, 51, of 1802 Ivory Gull Drive, Morehead City; he is charged with one count of insurance fraud.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that in June 2008, Hernandez acted in violation of North Carolina General Statutes, section 58-50-40. He is accused of causing a group health insurance policy for employees of his business, A&M Auto Body in Havelock, to be cancelled by failing to pay premiums to Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Hernandez allegedly did not give employees the required 45 days written notice of his intention to cancel the policy. As a result, one employee incurred medical bills totaling $2,349.66 during the lapse in coverage.

Hernandez was arrested on Feb. 4 in Craven County and released on a written promise to appear.

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--