For Immediate Release: May 21, 2018

Contact: Barry Smith at 919-807-6014

Five charged in Jackson County unlicensed bail bond conspiracy

RALEIGH -- North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey today announced the arrest of five people in an unlicensed bail bond conspiracy in western North Carolina.

Special agents from the Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division were alerted by Jackson County Sheriff’s Office detectives that two women at the Jackson County Detention Center were falsely representing themselves as bail bond agents.

According to warrants, the two women, Tami Lynn Thornhill and Elisa Colette Lindsey, met with William Laboy Rodriguez in the detention center parking lot to collect $8,000 for the purpose of bonding Michael Sykes out of jail. Deputies and other detention center staff determined that Thornhill and Lindsey were not licensed.

Warrants contend Thornhill and Lindsey conspired with Chad Derrick Cole, Heather Medford Haynes, and Savanah Pauline Justice in the scheme.

According to warrants, the parties communicated by phone and in person to plan out the scheme, adding that Rodriguez was unaware the parties were plotting to take the money and not post a bond.

Thornhill, 49, of 281 Dark Ridge Road, Sylva, was charged with felony conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense, felony obtaining property by false pretense, and misdemeanor acting as a bail bondsman without a license. Her bond was set at $5,000 unsecured.

Lindsey, 46, of 11598 Big Cove Road, Cherokee, was charged with felony conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense, felony obtaining property by false pretense, and misdemeanor acting as a bail bondsman without a license. Her bond was set at $20,000 secured.

Cole, 36, of 1074 Mauney Cove Road, Waynesville, was charged with felony conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense and felony obtaining property by false pretense. His bond was set at $15,000 secured.

Haynes, 27, of Waynesville was charged with felony conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense. Her bond was set at $5,000 secured.

Justice, 30, of 201 Wilson Cove Road, Canton, was charged with felony conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense. Her bond was set at $5,000 secured.

To report suspected fraud, contact the N.C. Department of Insurance Criminal Investigation Division at 919-807-6840.  Callers may remain anonymous.  Information is also available at www.ncdoi.com

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