For Immediate Release: August 26, 2014

Investigators seek public assistance in locating additional suspect

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of one person in an alleged insurance fraud scheme involving a series of staged auto accidents in Mecklenburg County. The Department of Insurance requests assistance from the public in locating an additional suspect in association with this case.

Eric Delano Smith, 44, of 107 Nautilis Court, Troutman, was arrested on Aug. 20 and charged with five counts of insurance fraud, four counts of obtaining property by false pretense and one count of attempting to obtain property by false pretense. He was placed under a $10,000 bond.

Investigators have charged Robert Thomas White, 53, of 4808 Kipling Drive, Charlotte, with one count each of insurance fraud and attempting to obtain property by false pretense. Any person with information regarding his whereabouts is encouraged to contact Department of Insurance criminal investigators at 919.807.6840.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that between 2012 and 2013, Smith and White conspired to stage a series of automobile accidents, after which they provided false and misleading information representing old unrepaired damage to their vehicles as new damage. The pair submitted claims to Sentry Insurance, GEICO, State Farm Insurance and National General Insurance and received a total of $7,196.59.

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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