For Immediate Release: September 15, 2011

New Hanover County Insurance Agent Arrested on Alleged Embezzlement Charges

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Earl E. Gay, 58, of 785 Green Hill Road, Leland; he is charged with 14 counts of embezzlement by an insurance agent.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that Gay embezzled more than $7,000 in combined life and accident insurance premiums while employed as an insurance agent with American General Life and Accident Company in 2010. An investigation was launched, and victims identified, as the result of consumer complaints filed with the Department of Insurance.

With the assistance of the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office and New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, Gay was arrested on Sept. 14 in Brunswick County and placed under a $10,000 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--