For Immediate Release: August 21, 2015

Three Accused of Insurance Rate Evasion in New Hanover County

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrests of Jody Ross Branham, 44; Robert Lee Harris, Jr., 43; and Juan Jarquin Vasquez, 27, of New Hanover County; each is charged with one count each of providing false information on an insurance application and rate evasion.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators accuse Branham and Vasquez of conspiring to title and register a vehicle with the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles and fraudulently secure auto insurance for Vasquez with Peak Property and Casualty Insurance Company. Investigators allege the pair presented false statements to NCDMV and Peak Property and Casualty because Vasquez is not eligible to register a motor vehicle or secure auto insurance in his name.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators accuse Harris and Vasquez of conspiring to title and register a vehicle with the NCDMV and fraudulently secure auto insurance for Vasquez with Discovery Insurance Company. Investigators allege the pair presented false statements to NCDMV and Discovery because Vasquez is not eligible to register a motor vehicle or secure auto insurance in his name.

Branham, Harris and Vasquez were arrested and will appear in court on September 20 in New Hanover County.

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 1,500 arrests, resulting in more than 750 criminal convictions with more than 250 cases currently pending court. These efforts have delivered more than $72.1 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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