For Immediate Release: October 31, 2014

Insurance Agent Charged with Embezzlement in Wilson County

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Bonnie Harrell Smith, 51, Lot W-8, Flutshers Landing Fleet, Sneads Ferry; she was charged with one count each of embezzlement by an insurance agent and obtaining property by false pretense.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that in December 2010, while working as a licensed insurance agent in Wilson County, Smith accepted $1,000 from a client, but did not remit those funds to St. Paul Insurance Company for a certificate of liability insurance. Investigators accuse Smith of keeping the money for her own personal use.

Smith was arrested on Oct. 30 with the assistance of the Wilson County Sheriff's Office and placed under at $2,000 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.

--NCDOI--