For Immediate Release: July 26, 2019

Contact: Barry Smith at 919-807-6014

Dare County woman accused of fabricating wellness benefit claims

RALEIGH -- North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey today announced the arrest of Wendi Barton Willoughby, 58, of 1617 Village Lane, Kill Devil Hills. Willoughby was charged with insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretense, both felonies.

Special Agents with the Department of Insurance's Criminal Investigations Division accuse Willoughby of filing 120 claims with Aflac for husband and dependents for doctors' visits that never occurred.

According to the arrest warrant, Willoughby received $6,695 from filing the fraudulent claims.

The offenses occurred between July 1, 2008, and July 8, 2019. Willoughby was arrested on July 9 and released on a written promise to appear in court.

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 white-collar crimes such as embezzlement or 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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