For Immediate Release: March 5, 2015

Former Chief Accused of Embezzling Fire Department Funds in Onslow County

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Matthew Tiernan Champney, 38, of 445 Patriots Point Lane, Swansboro; he has been charged with one count of embezzlement.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators accuse Champney of using a debit card belonging to the Hubert Volunteer Fire Department for personal purchases and cash withdrawals totaling $17,282.70 in unauthorized expenditures between Feb. 13, 2012, and Dec. 5, 2012. Champney served as fire chief during that time period.

Champney was arrested on March 4 in Onslow County and placed under a $25,000 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