South Carolina Policeman’s Accomplice Pleads Guilty to Auto Insurance Fraud

April 21, 2009

A man who police say helped a South Carolina policeman file a fraudulent auto insurance claim has pled guilty, according to state officials.

Officials said James David Morris, 40, of Coward, pled guilty in Florence County to burning personal property to defraud an insurer.

The charge carries a punishment of one to five years in prison. Judge Michael Nettles sentenced Morris to one year suspended to one year probation to terminate upon payment of restitution to State Farm Insurance Co.

According to the officials, in Jul, 2008, Robert Brendon Smith, a former Olanta, South Carolina police officer, reported his 2001 Dodge Dakota Truck as stolen in Coward. The truck was valued at over $8,000. The vehicle was found completely burned.

Police later determined that Morris had helped Smith burn the truck due to the vehicle’s mechanical problems. The claim to State Farm Insurance Co. was eventually withdrawn.

Morris’ co-defendant, Smith, pled guilty to the same charge on March 2. The case was prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.

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