For Immediate Release: August 25, 2011

Stanly County Insurance Agent Arrested for Alleged Finance Fraud

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Melissa Edwards Sanders, 38, of 2116 E. Main St., Albemarle; she is charged with 13 counts of obtaining property by false pretense.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that between April and September 2009, Sanders falsified loan documents and forged signatures to obtain insurance policies from premium financing companies while working as an agent for Pegram and Johnson Insurance Company. Investigators allege that Sanders received more than $42,000 from Prime Rate Premium Financing as a result of the fraudulent loan filings. She voluntarily surrendered her North Carolina insurance license in February 2011.

Department of Insurance investigators arrested Sanders on Aug. 24 in Stanly County where she was placed under a $5,000 secured bond.

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--