Local News

Teacher charged with insurance fraud

Posted August 14, 2009 4:19 p.m. EDT
Updated August 14, 2009 5:35 p.m. EDT

— A Wake County high school teacher has been charged with falsely reporting two burglaries at her home to collect insurance reimbursements, officials said Friday.

Chinell Jray Blount, 37, of 16 Redstone Court in Durham, was charged with insurance fraud and attempting to obtain property by false pretense.

Investigators with the state Department of Insurance said Blount filed claims with Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. for an alleged residential burglary in January. The claims totaled $38,723 for household items she said were stolen.

The insurance company asked Blount to provide receipts for the stolen items, and investigators said she gave the company several computer print-outs, many from Rent-A-Centers in Durham. An investigator with Liberty Mutual found several of the items Blount claimed stolen were actually still in the store.

In April, she reported a second burglary of her residence and $3,000 in stolen property, including a laptop computer belonging to the Wake County school district. According to the investigation, she had reported the laptop stolen to the school district a month earlier.

Liberty Mutual denied both claims, but paid Blount more than $6,000 in property damage, officials said.

Blount, a special programs teacher at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School, has been suspended with pay pending an internal investigation, said Bill Poston, a spokesman for the Wake County school district. She has worked for the district for one year, he said.