Fraud Around the Nation: Multi-Person Arson Scam, False Oil Spill Claim, Fake Deer Hit

March 16, 2017
Six Arrested in Virginia Insurance Fraud Scheme Involving 30 Fires

Virginia prosecutors say six people have been arrested for their alleged roles in an insurance fraud scheme that involved setting 30 fires.

Federal prosecutors say the defendants over the course of 16 years set fire to homes, trailers, mobile homes and cars they bought at auction or in foreclosure in order to collect insurance proceeds.

Prosecutors say the defendants also made false statements to insurance companies, firefighters and law enforcement officers. The payouts for each fire ranged from $1,000-$300,000, totaling a combined sum of roughly $900,000.

The defendants are: 72-year-old Verdon Taylor, 37-year-old Vershawn Jackson, 58-year-old Sylvia Mitchell, 54-year-old Marie Taylor, 32-year-old Dorel Watson and 57-year-old Eugenia Fleming. They were all arrested on Thursday.

Mississippi Man Pleads Not Guilty to Fraud on oil Spill Recovery Claim

A man has pleaded not guilty to charges involving fraud in a $172,800 oil-spill recovery claim in 2010.

The Sun Herald reported that 39-year-old Leonard Charles Thomas said he didn’t receive the money by claiming he lost work as a deckhand after the BP oil spill. Trial is expected to start May 15 in U.S. District Court.

Thomas was denied bond Feb. 22 after his arrest on a three-count indictment filed in 2015.

The indictment states Thomas falsely claimed he was a deckhand and an oyster and shrimp fisherman on a boat known as the Strike and Mississippi Strike in Pass Christian when the oil spill occurred.

Thomas has been paroled on two drug convictions in 2012. He was arrested Feb. 12 on traffic violations when parole warrants showed up on a background check.

Warrant Issued for Idaho Woman for False Claim of Deer Hit

Kelsey Gearring, 23, has joined Idaho Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s insurance fraud most wanted after the Asotin County Court was unable to serve her with two felony charges.
A bench warrant for her arrest was issued on March 10 and bail is set at $50,000.

Kelsey Gearring, of Idaho, was charged with one count of filing a false insurance claim and one count of attempted first-degree theft.

According to the investigation, Gearring filed a $9,600 auto claim with Allstate for a June 28 collision, saying she hit a deer with her SUV. On June 23, Gearring had changed her auto policy to include comprehensive and collision coverage; prior to that, she had only liability insurance on her 2008 GMC Acadia. Investigators determined that Gearring’s accident could not have happened on June 28 because she was in Asotin County jail that day for violating a restraining order; the accident actually occurred June 22 before she added coverage to her car. Furthermore, she did not hit a deer, but ran off the road when she was distracted while driving.

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