For Immediate Release: March 4, 2011

Husband and Wife Sentenced in Insurance Fraud Scheme

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced that after a two-day jury trial in Granville County, a couple has been found guilty and sentenced in an insurance fraud scheme to steal an elderly woman's life savings.

The case was presided over by Judge R. Allen Baddour, Jr., and prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Cindy P. Bostic in Granville County Superior Court in Oxford.

Aaron Pittman, 56, of 2085 Highway 39 North, Louisburg, was found guilty of charges including conspiracy, exploitation of an elder, obtaining property by false pretense and insurance fraud; on March 3, he was sentenced to 96 to 125 months in prison and ordered to pay $122,000 in restitution.

Mildred Dew, 58, of 314 Heartstone Drive, Nashville, was found guilty of charges including exploitation of an elder, obtaining property by false pretense and insurance fraud; on March 3, she was sentenced to 13 to 16 months in prison and five years of supervised probation at the end of the active sentence.

According to an investigation initiated by Creedmoor Police, on Jan. 7, 2010, the elderly victim tried to purchase a money order from her bank, but was told she didn't have enough in her savings account. Bank officials told her that Pittman was a joint holder on her account. According to victim statements, Pittman knocked on her door a few years ago claiming to be a preacher and an insurance salesman. She thought she was purchasing a life insurance policy from Pittman, but instead signed an annuity contract. Pittman gained access to the victim's savings and transferred $50,000 to the annuity, then changed the beneficiary and ownership to his wife, Mildred Dew. Based on victim statements and documents from the insurance company underwriting Pittman's policies, Creedmoor police obtained arrest warrants for Pittman and Dew.

The Department of Insurance employs 21 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud. In 2010, these criminal investigators successfully closed 402 cases and made 126 arrests, leading to 88 criminal convictions. These resulted in more than $21.1 million in restitution and recoveries-more than double the dollar amount from the previous year and a record for NCDOI.

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--