Former Louisiana Sheriff Candidate Booked on Insurance Fraud

March 21, 2012

Louisiana State police say a former candidate for St. Helena Parish Sheriff has been booked on counts of insurance fraud and felony theft.

Trooper Nick Manale tells The Advocate 36-year-old Frederick Bell of Kentwood is accused of falsely claiming three television sets and a laptop computer were stolen during an April burglary.

Bell reported the theft to Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s deputies and Farmers Insurance Group, which paid Bell $2,014 for the items, Manale said.

An investigation revealed that Bell purchased the items at a Hammond Wal-Mart then returned them to one in Amite several days later, Manale said. Bell filed the original purchase receipts with his insurance claim, Manale said.

When reached by phone by The Advocate, Bell confirmed the arrest and said the entire incident was a misunderstanding.

“All my time at that point was occupied with work and campaigning,” Bell said.

When the error was discovered, Bell said, he corrected the claim with the insurance company.

Bell finished third in a three-way race for St. Helena Sheriff in the fall. He received 261 votes, or 5 percent of those cast, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

Incumbent Nat Williams won the election with 3,601 votes, or 69 percent, the website shows.

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