For Immediate Release: September 25, 2013

Durham Business Owner Charged with Insurance Fraud after Filing Robbery Claim

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Earl Lin Pickett, 68, of 1215 Summerville Lane, Durham; he was charged with one count each of insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretense.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that Pickett misrepresented and inflated the value of property that was stolen and damaged by gunfire during an armed robbery on Jan. 2, 2013 at one of his Durham convenience stores. Investigators accuse Pickett of filing an inflated property loss claim with Federated Insurance Company for which he was paid $33,323.51 more than he was entitled.

The Durham Police Department’s Warrant Squad arrested Pickett on Sept. 24 and he was placed under a $30,000 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 made more than 800 arrests, resulting in 430 criminal convictions thus far. These efforts have delivered more than $55 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--