Four Arrested in N.C., One Wanted; All Accused of Major Insurance Fraud Ring

North Carolina Officials arrested four Anson and Richmond County residents accused in an extensive insurance fraud ring.

The accused were investigated for allegedly filing fraudulent insurance claims and altering police accident reports and hospital bills.

Nancy Ratliff Smith, 39, of Morven; Omea Ratliff Allen, 57, of Morven; Eddie Cannon, 48, of Wadesboro; and Lamarte Ames Townsend, 22, of Morven were arrested on Jan. 30, by Department of Insurance investigators on multiple counts of a variety of alleged infractions.

Al Sylvester Smith, 41, of Rockingham is still at large and wanted on nine counts of obtaining property by false pretense, two counts of attempting to obtain property by false pretenses and eleven counts of insurance fraud.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Mr. Smith is urged to call the Department’s Investigation Division at 919-807-6840.

At least six insurance companies were allegedly victimized during this 10-year scheme, which allegedly netted the accused nearly $85,000 in claims paid. They allegedly filed more claims totaling some $86,000, for which they never received payment. The companies involved are State Farm, GMAC, Universal, Atlantic Casualty, Sentry Insurance and the North Carolina Farm Bureau.

Department officials believe these individuals altered police reports to reflect accidents that never happened, and/or also altered legitimate hospital bills to show charges significantly higher than those actually remitted. Department of Insurance investigators first learned of this alleged activity in March 2006 when they received a call from GMAC.