For Immediate Release: August 22, 2011

Six Wake County Residents Arrested in Alleged Auto Insurance Fraud Ring

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrests of six people accused of engaging in an insurance fraud scheme involving staged auto accidents.

Daniel Adams, 23, of 2513 Tyron Grove Drive, Raleigh, was charged with one count each of obtaining property by false pretense, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense.

Clifton Ferrell, 20, of 10136 Fanny Brown Road, Raleigh, was charged with two counts each of obtaining property by false pretense, insurance fraud, attempting to obtain property by false pretense, and conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense.

Samantha Ferrell, 23, of 1740 Greenbriar Drive, Fuquay-Varina, was charged with two counts of obtaining property by false pretense, and one count each of insurance fraud, attempting to obtain property by false pretense, and conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense.

Richard Leblanc, 34, of 1740 Greenbriar Drive, Fuquay-Varina, was charged with one count each of obtaining property by false pretense, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense.

Christopher Short, 27, of 313-G Bargate Drive, Cary, was charged with two counts each of obtaining property by false pretense, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense, and one count of attempting to obtain property by false pretense.

Michael Spina, 31, of 1740 Greenbriar Drive, Fuquay-Varina, was charged with three counts each of obtaining property by false pretense, insurance fraud, attempting to obtain property by false pretense, and conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense, and one count of forgery of an endorsement.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that the suspects were involved in staging accidents to receive insurance payouts for alleged injuries. Investigators allege that three accidents between November 2010 and April 2011 involved Michael Spina as either a passenger or driver, and the other participants were either friends or relatives of Spina's. GEICO, GMAC Insurance and Travelers Insurance have paid more than $41,000 in claims to several of the suspects thus far, and more claims were being processed. An investigation was initiated after a special investigator from GEICO confirmed fraudulent activity involving one of their insureds and alerted the Department of Insurance.

With the assistance of the Apex, Fuquay-Varina and Raleigh Police Departments -- as well as the Wake County Sheriff's Office Investigations Division, Special Response Team, and Warrant Squad -- Adams, Clifton Ferrell, Samantha Ferrell, Leblanc, Short and Spina were arrested on Aug. 19 and processed at the Wake County Jail. Each is being held on $30,000, $100,000, $50,000, $60,000, $75,000 and $150,000 secured bonds, respectively.

The Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn state law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating and prosecuting claims of insurance and bail bonding fraud. Since Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin took office in 2008, criminal investigators have received more than 11,000 complaints resulting in 505 arrests, 286 criminal convictions, and more than 100 cases currently pending a court appearance. These arrests have resulted in more than $44 million in restitution and recoveries for victims.

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--