For Immediate Release: February 17, 2011

Thomasville Man Arrested for Insurance Fraud, Accused of Setting House on Fire

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Eric Stewart Turner, 28, of 504 Easy St., Thomasville; he is charged with one count each of insurance fraud, fraudulently burning a dwelling and obtaining property by false pretense.

Investigators accuse Turner of setting fire to a house he owned at 298 Sunny Lane on Jan. 17 for the purpose of collecting insurance payments. He allegedly made false statements about his whereabouts at the time of the fire while making the claim to Farm Bureau Insurance and fraudulently obtained $1,000 from the company for living expenses.

Turner surrendered to authorities at the Davidson County Sheriff's Office on Feb. 16 and was placed under $10,000 secured bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 16.

The arrest was the result of a joint investigation of North Carolina Department of Insurance, the Davidson County Sheriff's Office, the State Bureau of Investigation and the Davidson County Fire Marshal's Office.

The Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud. In 2010, these criminal investigators saw 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--