For Immediate Release: October 10, 2012

Mecklenburg County Man Surrenders on Insurance Fraud Charge

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Joseph Michael Phelan, 42, last known to reside at 9702 Aegean Court, Huntersville; he is charged with one count of insurance fraud and one count of attempting to obtain property by false pretense.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that on April 26, 2012, Phelan reported his wife’s vehicle stolen to his insurance carrier, USAA Insurance, even though he knew it had been repossessed for non-payment by the lien holder.

Phelan turned himself in to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 9 and is being held 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 2009, criminal investigators have received more than 14,000 complaints, resulting in 602 arrests, 333 criminal convictions and more than 110 pending court cases. These efforts have delivered more than $48.5 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--