A Goldsboro woman was arrested and charged with insurance fraud after allegedly adding a damaged vehicle to her insurance policy and attempting to file a claim.
Annie Darlene Bell, 49, of 900 N. Virginia St., was arrested Jan. 15 and charged with felony insurance fraud, said Mike Causey, North Carolina insurance commissioner. She was transported to the Wilson County jail under a $5,000 unsecured bond.
Barry Smith, public information officer for the North Carolina Department of Insurance, said a warrant for Bell’s arrest was issued after she allegedly added a 2008 Acura to a Progressive Insurance Co. auto policy, knowing the vehicle was already damaged and attempted to file a claim for the damaged vehicle. Smith said the vehicle sustained heavy front-end damages and was undrivable on Nov. 21.
Bell attempted to add the vehicle to her insurance policy and file a claim that same day, Smith said. The insurance company flagged the claim due to the timing of the incident and the changes to Bell’s policy.
Causey said special agents from the N.C. Department of Insurance’s Criminal Investigation Division arrested Bell. He estimated insurance fraud costs North Carolinians between 15 and 20 cents for every dollar spent on insurance premiums.
“Insurance fraud affects our economy,” Causey said. “Not only does it damage insurance companies, it cheats businesses and consumers too. This kind of white-collar crime is unacceptable. That’s why I’ve doubled the number of special agents to investigate insurance fraud.
“Cracking down on fraud will put more money in the pockets of businesses and consumers.”
Causey doubled efforts to fight insurance fraud when he took office in 2017 and increased the number of agents investigating fraud from 20 to 40, Smith said. In 2016, there were 233 arrests and 153 convictions for insurance fraud compared to 334 arrests and 139 convictions in 2017 and 457 arrests and 211 convictions in 2018, he said.
Causey said anyone who suspects a fraudulent claim should contact the N.C. Department of Insurance Criminal Investigation Division at 919-807-6840 or visit www.ncdio.com for more information.