For Immediate Release: April 4, 2014

Fayetteville Women Accused of Insurance Fraud, Filing False Police Reports

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrests of Tonya Gorham, 36, of 520 Anona Drive, Fayetteville, and Martha Cole, 30, of 433 St. George Drive, Fayetteville. Gorham is charged with insurance fraud, obtaining property by false pretense, conspiring to obtain property by false pretense and filing a false police report. Cole is charged with insurance fraud, attempting to obtain property by false pretense, conspiring to obtain property by false pretense and filing a false police report.

Gorham is accused making a fraudulent insurance claim that someone had broken into her home on July 22, 2013, and stolen items including a diamond ring. Liberty Mutual Insurance paid Gorham $14,500 for the allegedly fraudulent claim.

Cole is accused of making a fraudulent insurance claim with Liberty Mutual that she had more than $26,000 worth of items stolen from her during a robbery on Nov. 30, 2013. Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that Cole reported some of the same items stolen that Gorham had reported stolen in July, including the diamond ring.

The women are accused of conspiring with one another to defraud the insurance company and filing false police reports with the Fayetteville Police Department that thefts had occurred.

Gorham and Cole were arrested on April 1 in Cumberland County. Gorham was placed under a $5,000 bond, and Cole was placed under a $9,000 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 more than 430 criminal convictions. 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--