For Immediate Release: August 16, 2011

Joint Investigation Leads to Additional Arrests in Wake County Bail Bonds Case

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrests of four Wake County Jail trustees after a joint investigation by the Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division and the Wake County Sheriff's Office.

Joseph Darnell Johnson, 28, who has no known address; Edwin Alexander Lester, 22, of 6149 Giles St., Raleigh; William Clegg Perry, 40, of 1209 S. Person St., Raleigh; and Markeith Centez Squires, 19, of 416 Newcomb Road, Raleigh, were arrested on Aug. 15 in Wake County. Each was charged with one misdemeanor count of acting as an unlicensed bail bondsman and held on a $1,000 secured bond.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that the trustees made contact with individuals being processed in the Wake County Jail to see if they required a bail bondsman. The trustees would then allegedly contact a bondsman to set up the bonding process and would receive a fee for the referral through their jail canteen accounts.

The arrests come after the June 8 arrest of bail bondsman Ricky Roberson, 51, of 1513 The Arts Drive, Raleigh, on charges that he allegedly paid a Wake County jailer to refer bonds to his bail bond business. The joint investigation of Roberson, and of the four trustees, was initiated after the Wake County Sheriff's Office received a tip during an internal investigation of one of its jail employees.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators have been assisting the Wake County Sheriff's Office in its efforts to stop illegal activities of both licensed and unlicensed individuals in and around the Wake County Jail.

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.

--NCDOI--