For Immediate Release: July 17, 2014

Wilmington Couple Arrested After Alleged Arson

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrests of Mark Dwayne Geer, Jr., 23, of 622 Sharease Circle, Wilmington, and Michelle Alaina May, 21, of the same address.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that Geer set fire to the couple's Wilmington residence on May 12, 2014, to collect insurance funds and conspired with May to provide fraudulent information to USAA Insurance Company. The couple has received approximately $9,800 in living expenses from the insurer.

After a joint investigation by the Department of Insurance, Wilmington Police Department, Wilmington Fire Department and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, Geer was arrested in New Hanover County on July 16 and charged with one count each of second-degree arson, fraudulently burning of one's own dwelling, burning of personal property, insurance fraud, obtaining property by false pretense, and five counts of felony conspiracy. He was placed under a $50,000 bond.

May was arrested in New Hanover County on July 16 and charged with five counts of felony conspiracy. She was placed under a $20,000 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 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.

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