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Ten charged with faking wrecks for insurance

Posted January 25, 2011

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— Sixteen people are accused of working together to stage vehicle wrecks to file insurance claims, state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said Tuesday.

Department of Insurance investigators allege that brothers Howard Earl Whitfield Jr. and Douglas Whitfield were the ringleaders of the operation, which worked in Nash, Edgecombe and Franklin counties. Investigators said they conspired with family members and others to file insurance claims for wrecks that never occurred and to physically stage crashes in which one suspect intentionally hit another suspect’s vehicle from behind.

Universal Insurance, Farm Bureau Insurance of North Carolina, GMAC Insurance, Nationwide Insurance and Geico Insurance paid a combined $76,217 in fraudulent claims to members of the group between August 2009 and January 2010, officials said.

"We have little doubt they would have kept going if we hadn't stopped them," said Al Koehler, the DOI's director of criminal investigations.

Ten of the people suspected of taking part in the ring have been arrested, and warrants have been issued for the other six.

The following Rocky Mount residents were charged with one count each of obtaining property by false pretense, insurance fraud and conspiracy:

Ryan Craig Bobbitt, 23, of 1029 Compass Creek Road, Billie Whitfield Hollis, 44, of 165 White Oak Road, Virginia Janosik Howlett, 56, of 575 Tobacco Road, Steven Tyrell Jones, 23, of 1924 Hunter Hill Road, Leandrous Lee Murray, 26, of 615 Piedmont Ave., Kristy Turner, 27, of 201 Thunder Road and Howard Buddy Whitfield, III, 18, of 165 White Oak Road.

Ten charged with faking wrecks for insurance Ten charged with faking wrecks for insurance

Howard Earl Whitfield Jr., 45, of 91 Bluestone Lane in Tarboro, and John David Hoggard Jr., 32, of 104 Williams St. in Tarboro, were charged with one count each of obtaining property by false pretense, insurance fraud and attempting to obtain property by false pretense and two felony counts of conspiracy.

Renee Jones Naccarato, 36, of 1939 James Road in Nashville, is charged with one count each of obtaining property by false pretense and insurance fraud and three counts of conspiracy.

Goodwin said about 10 cents of every $1 paid in auto insurance premiums goes toward the payment of fraudulent claims.

"If insurance companies pay for false, unjustified insurance claims, we all pay in the form of higher insurance premiums," he said.

The DOI recovered more than $21.1 million in insurance fraud last year, more than doubling the total from 2009, Goodwin said. Although Mecklenburg and Wake counties had the most cases of insurance fraud by far, the DOI recovered nearly half of its annual total – $10.3 million – from Martin County.

"We're cracking down on insurance fraud every day," Goodwin said.

The Nash County Sheriff’s Office and the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office worked with DOI investigators on the case.


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  • Capn Crunch Jan 26, 2011

    TO outback1967: Probably because it's u and me that have to pay higher insurance rates because of this kind of stuff. And possibly because they are going to end up killing an innocent person while commiting these acts!

  • runtwhitfield Jan 26, 2011

    I thought it was inocent until proven guilty.Fact/there was a wreck with my edgecombe county family members. Fact/ my weed smoking brother in law ran over my foot. Fact/there are doctor reports on both the 2 cases here in Edgecombe county. None of the Edgecombe county suspects are or have ever been behind bars over this.And Fact Doug and Renee are as you say distant family members in Nash county where we in Edgecombe county have no idea who these other suspects are nor do we want to know.Fact/ DOI wan't even interested in us until we couldn't give him the dirt he wanted for Nash and Franklin counties.It was we help him or he'd get us all.So hopefully the whole truth will come out and you can keep you're comments to yourselves.

  • outback1967 Jan 26, 2011

    These guys are innocent until proven guilty....why don't LEO concentrate on crack heads on welfare sitting on their worthless,meaningless,crime driven leaches of society draining our economy...oh wait... who is the President ?

  • jsok123 Jan 26, 2011

    I know someone who had this happen years ago. Car passed him, pulled in front and slammed on his brakes. This guy got out of his wrecked car, walked up to the driver of the car that slammed on his brakes, and promptly shot the driver. The guy didn't die but needless to say, the shooter went to prison. CONSEQUENCES.

  • Kenny1970 Jan 25, 2011

    LL4U I agree with you..Can fix stupid....lol...

  • hellorhighwaters Jan 25, 2011

    Now what if one of them had actually gotten killed in their so call 'accidents'. Guess they really would have a claim then.
    People just don't think sometimes.

  • LL4U Jan 25, 2011

    Can't fix stupid!!!!!

  • lma1973 Jan 25, 2011

    I grew up with these guys.

  • delilahk2000 Jan 25, 2011


  • bjm011366 Jan 25, 2011

    Sounds like a pretty good scam they had going....