Fraud News: Arson, Falsified Date of Loss, Workers’ Comp Premium Fraud

September 7, 2018

Georgia Woman Charged With Arson, Insurance Fraud

A Georgia woman has been charged with first‐degree arson for allegedly setting fire to her home and one count of insurance fraud for submitting a fraudulent insurance claim, according to an announcement by Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.

Rebecca Lynn Abernathy was arrested on August 29 and booked into the Habersham County Jail.

The charges are the result of an investigation by an Arson Investigator in Hudgens’ State Fire Marshal Division, with assistance from the Habersham Fire Department and Sheriff’s Office. Investigators allege that on January 21, around 12:30 a.m., Abernathy intentionally set fire to the home located at 4195 Cannon Bridge Road, Demorest, Ga., Abernathy would later file an insurance claim with State Farm with the potential to receive up to $240,000 in insurance proceeds from the loss.

If convicted, Abernathy could face up to one to 20 years in prison and could be ordered to pay
restitution and up to $50,000 in fines.

Washington Women Ordered to Pay Restitution to Insurers They Defrauded

Two women were sentenced in King County Superior Court to serve community service and pay restitution to insurance companies after investigations by Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).

Taylor Morgado, of Seattle, pleaded guilty to first-degree theft, a felony. She is ordered to serve 232 hours of community service, pay $15,738 in restitution to Safeco Insurance and $600 in court fees.

Morgado filed two fraudulent insurance claims with Safeco in 2015. In April, Safeco paid her $6,424 for jewelry, electronics and cash she claimed were stolen during a burglary. In May, Safeco paid $20,790 for her car, a 2013 Nissan Juke, she said had been stolen. Police later recovered the car being driven by a suspected drunken driver, whom Morgado told police she had given the car to before she reported it stolen.

Timisha Short, of Federal Way, was found guilty on Aug. 24 to one count of filing a false insurance claim and one count of second-degree attempted theft. She will serve 240 hours of community service and 12 months of probation, pay restitution to be determined at a later date and $500 in court fees, and is ordered to not drive without insurance.

Short purchased auto insurance from Progressive after she was in a collision, then filed a $12,088 claim for her totaled 2012 Hyundai Sonata with a falsified collision date and circumstances.

$50,000 Florida Workers’ Comp Fraud Scheme Put Employees at Risk

Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Vanessa Arreguin, owner of V&G Concrete, Inc. for workers’ compensation fraud. Over the course of two years she conducted more than $7.5 million in business, but claimed she made less than $50,000. By doing so, she deliberately evaded paying $51,000 in workers’ compensation premiums. Arreguin was charged with three felony counts of concealing payroll to avoid workers’ compensation premiums and two felony counts of application fraud.

Arreguin surrendered to insurance fraud detectives at the Palm Beach County Jail and was released on bond. If convicted on all charges, Arreguin faces up to 20 years in prison.

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