MOULTRIE, Ga. — Police this week rounded up three of four suspects in an insurance fraud scheme in which they are accused of damaging cars multiple times in order to file insurance claims.
Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens’ office on Wednesday filed 42 felony warrants following its investigation launched on a tip from insurance companies. A spokesman for Hudgens said that the four suspects defrauded two insurance companies of $40,000 over a two and a half year period.
On Wednesday police arrested Moultrie residents Calvin Dewayne Washington, Celdrick Sherrod Greene and Amanda Laverne Cornelius, and were seeking Aundra Bernard Williams Sr.
Williams is the operator of T&A Collision, said Glenn Allen, a spokesman for Hudgens’ office. Washington, Greene and Cornelius are accused of damaging their cars and then taking them to Williams’ shop at 1450 First St. N.E.
“All four subjects engaged in a scheme to intentionally vandalize vehicles, file insurance claims, and then do minimal repairs that were necessary to the vehicles,” he said. “They were using the same vehicles; they were vandalizing these vehicles over and over.”
In fact, the insurance claims on the cars were made on repeated damage to the same area -- a specific door, for example -- he said.
“We believe they did this solely to commit insurance fraud for financial gain,” Allen said.
The insurance companies involved became suspicious because a national database showed a suspicious pattern.
“They were seeing the same vehicle sustaining damage in a small period of time,” Allen said. “So when multiple claims continue to come in on the same VIN (vehicle identification number) that activity raises a red flag.”
Charges in the case include:
• Cornelius, 43, 3109 Veterans Parkway S.: five counts each insurance fraud and theft by deception.
• Greene, 39, 553 27th St. S.E.: five counts each of insurance fraud and theft by deception, and one count each of identity fraud and forgery.
• Washington, 34: four counts each insurance fraud and theft by deception.
• Williams, 47: eight counts insurance fraud, four counts theft by deception.
Insurance fraud carries a two- to 10-year prison sentence and fines up to $10,000. Felony theft carries a sentence of one to 10 years in prison.
In addition to the fraud and theft charges, Greene also is accused of signing a forged signature on a check that was not written to him.
“Warrants were issued and individuals were picked up by Insurance Commissioner Hudgens’ Fraud Investigation Unit,” Allen said.
The four will be prosecuted in Colquitt County Superior Court. The commission office does not anticipate additional arrests or additional charges against those already charged, Allen said.
In February the commissioner’s office made seven arrests and filed some 60 felony warrants in Moultrie in an alleged arson and fraud scheme in which 10 fires were set at several different houses resulting in several insurance companies paying out $400,000 in claims. Three of the fires were in Colquitt County outside the Moultrie city limits and seven occurred inside the city.