The Virginia Chapter of the International Association of Special Investigation Units recognized Jamie Walker, Virginia Farm Bureau, as Investigator of the Year for his outstanding investigative work that resulted in the conviction and removal of a bad preacher from the pulpit of a church in Nottoway County.
The award was presented at the recent VA IASIU Annual Seminar, which took place in Richmond, Va.
The case Walker was assigned involved Tyree Smith, a self-styled reverend who preached at a church in Nottoway. The Rev. Smith sustained a fire loss in Caroline County and in Walker’s investigation of that fire, he found multiple claims involving Smith, including a previous fire loss and a payment receipt on an auto claim that should have been paid to his church. Walker also investigated a fire loss involving an associate of Smith, and through joint efforts, the associate, Beverly Claiborne, voluntarily withdrew her insurance claim. Claiborne pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and testified against Smith.
Smith was accused of stealing approximately $135,500 from the church and the Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Company for a total amount of $470,000 in claims that were either denied or withdrawn. Walker’s investigation also triggered a possible workers’ compensation fraud charge against Smith from a claim many years old.
The Reverend Tyree Smith continued to steadfastly deny all charges until he was convicted in Nottoway Circuit Count in a bench trial on February 2014. He was convicted on nine counts of Obtaining Money by False Pretenses. He will be sentenced on June 5, which should result in $145,000 in restitution to Poplar Lawn Baptist Church and Virginia Farm Bureau.
Source: VA IASIU
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