Louisiana Insurance Investigators Allegedly Killed by Agent

June 9, 2011

Two investigators with the Louisiana Department of Insurance were shot and killed on June 7 while attempting to collect case information from an insurance agent in Ville Platte.

Authorities believe that John Melvin Lavergne shot LDI investigators Kim Sledge and Rhett Jeansonne before turning the gun on himself. The investigators were unarmed.

Jeansonne has been an investigator with the Fraud Section since November 2006, according to Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. Sledge, an 11 year employee of LDI, began her career in 2000 in the Health Division and later became an investigator with the Fraud Section.

“My deepest sympathies go out to the loved ones of our two departed colleagues, in particular, the surviving spouses and children of these brave individuals,” Donelon said in a statement released by LDI.

Louisiana State Police arrested Laverne in January 2011 for unfair trade practices.

In October 2010, troopers received a criminal complaint about 65-year-old Melvin J. Lavergne of Ville Platte, La. The complaint alleged that Lavergne, the owner and agent of Lavergne’s Insurance Agency located in Ville Platte, had failed to send insurance premiums collected from customers to the insurance companies.

The LSP says the investigation revealed that Lavergne failed to submit insurance premiums for four separate customer accounts resulting in seven cancellation notices being issued.

In November 2009, issued a cease and desist order, summary suspension of Lavergne’s licenses and a $16,500 fine notice for allegedly providing fraudulent proofs of insurance.

LDI reported at that time that Lavergne allegedly provided fraudulent proof of insurance to the Lafayette Department of Motor Vehicles on four occasions.

The Louisiana State Police are investigating the alleged murder/suicide and will release more details as they become available, Donelon said.

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