For Immediate Release: May 22, 2019

Contact: Barry Smith at 919-807-6014

Special Agents accuse Goldsboro woman of filing false damage claims

Defendant said Hurricane Florence caused mold, damaged appliances

RALEIGH -- North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey today announced that Tina L. Whitley, 53, of 821 N.C. 581 South, Goldsboro, was charged with insurance fraud, a felony.

Special Agents with the Department of Insurance's Criminal Investigations Division accuse Whitley of telling American Bankers Insurance Co. of Florida that Hurricane Florence caused damage to her heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit in a mobile home insurance claim. According to the criminal summons, Whitley's HVAC unit was in perfect condition.

Also, according to the criminal summons, Whitley falsely told the insurance company that her refrigerator was covered in mold and needed to be replaced when she'd actually sold the refrigerator. She is also accused of falsely saying her residence had been condemned and that a cleanup and restoration service told her that her walls, floor and insulation was covered in mold and needed to be replaced.

In addition, the criminal summons says that she claimed flying debris from the hurricane damaged her property, when the damage occurred before the storm.

The offense occurred on Sept. 17, 2018.

Special Agents served Whitley with the criminal summons on May 15.

Fraud is felt every time consumers pay their insurance premiums. Commissioner Causey estimates fraud costs North Carolinians between 15 and 20 cents on every dollar paid on insurance premiums.

"Insurance fraud affects our economy. Not only does it damage insurance companies, it cheats businesses and consumers too," Commissioner Causey said. "This kind of white-collar crime is unacceptable. That's why I've doubled the number of Special Agents to investigate insurance fraud. Cracking down on fraud will put more money in the pockets of businesses and consumers."

To report suspected fraud, contact the N.C. 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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