For Immediate Release: January 6, 2016

Two Accused of Insurance Fraud in Lee County

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrests of Brian Thomas Bright, 39, and Althea M. Smith, 33, of 2459 Strickland Bridge Road, Fayetteville; each is charged with one count each of insurance fraud and attempting to obtain property by false pretense in Lee County.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators accuse Bright and Smith of fraudulently attempting to obtain payment from Sentry Insurance Company by making false statements relating to a motor vehicle accident on Jan. 16, 2015.

Bright was arrested in Lee County on Dec. 22 and placed under a $50,000 bond. Smith was arrest in Cumberland County on Dec. 23 and placed under a $50,000 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 1,500 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.

--NCDOI--