For Immediate Release: July 22, 2011

Joint Investigation Leads to Insurance Fraud Arrest

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Joshua Rex Walston, 26, of 1567 Lanvale Road, Leland; he is charged with one count each of insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretense.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that on March 10, 2009, Walston reported his 2007 Dodge Ram pick-up truck stolen from his residence, filed a claim with his insurance company, and was subsequently paid $28,000 by Farmers Insurance Group. In October 2010, Brunswick County law enforcement received a tip that Walston's truck was being hidden on a property he rented in Columbus County. As the result of a joint investigation by Department of Insurance criminal investigators, the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office and the Columbus County Sheriff's Office, law enforcement officials were able to recover the alleged stolen truck and charge Walston with filing a fraudulent claim to defraud Farmers Insurance.

Walston was arrested on July 20 in Brunswick County and placed under a $10,000 secured bond.

The Department of Insurance employs 20 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.

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