A North Carolina woman has been arrested on charges that she took insurance claim checks from an October 2009 house fire that destroyed her grandmother’s residence.
Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin announced the arrest of Dawn Hathcock Morris, 40, of Albemarle, for an array of charges connected to alleged exploitation of her grandmother.
Morris is charged with one count each of exploitation of an elder adult, uttering a forged instrument and obtaining property by false pretense over $100,000, and two counts each of insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretense.
Department of Insurance criminal investigators accuse Morris of collecting insurance claim checks from an October 2009 house fire that destroyed her grandmother’s residence. Investigators allege that Morris falsely presented herself as having power of attorney for her grandmother, deposited the checks without her grandmother’s knowledge, and filed a false lease agreement , which caused the insurance company to pay for a residence that the grandmother was not actually living in. Morris is also accused of depositing an altered claims check into her account.
In a separate incident in August 2006, Morris forged proof of power of attorney for her grandmother and cashed out the full amount of her grandmother’s life insurance policy without authorization, officials allege.
As a result of the alleged crimes, Morris fraudulently received $207,823.05 from Kemper Auto and Home Insurance, $4,928.74 from Wachovia Bank and $6,315.47 from her grandmother, according to officials.
Morris was arrested on Oct. 25 in Stanly County and placed under a $40,000 secured bond. She is to appear in court on Nov. 1.
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