For Immediate Release: June 19, 2014

Rocky Mount Woman Accused of Making False Vandalism Claims

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Latoya Sweet Whitaker, 28, of 640 Jennifer Lane, Rocky Mount; she was charged with four counts of insurance fraud, four counts of obtaining property by false pretense and one count of attempting to obtain property by false pretense.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that between May 2010 and August 2013, Whitaker received approximately $7,000 in insurance claims payments from Geico Insurance Company for four fraudulent vehicle vandalism claims. She is also accused of filing a fraudulent vandalism claim for the damage with Direct General Group of Companies in January 2014.

Whitaker was arrested on June 18 with the assistance of the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office and was placed under a $7,500 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 1,000 arrests, resulting in more than 500 criminal convictions with more than 200 cases currently pending court. These efforts have delivered more than $61 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--