State charges 13 with auto-accident insurance scams in the Triangle

From staff reportsFebruary 20, 2013 

— Thirteen people faces criminal charges in connection with what state Department of Insurance investigators say were two separate scams to stage auto accidents and then collect insurance payments for injuries.

In the Wake County case, officials began arresting eight people Feb. 13 and said they are looking for two more.

In Durham County, five people who investigators said are all related, were arrested Monday.

Charges in the Wake County case include insurance fraud, obtaining property by false pretenses and conspiracy to obtain property by false pretenses.

The seven took part in a three-accident scam that ran between May 7 and June 26, 2012, the Insurance Department said, and received more than $84,000 from insurers.

The five people charged in Durham County carried out a 10-year scheme, the department said, but the amount received from insurers was not disclosed.

In both cases, investigators said, insurers found connections among accidents for which claims were made for medical expenses for injuries even though there was little or no vehicle damage.

Charged in Wake County were: Iwaun Harper, 39, of Conetoe; Morgan Hollins, 23, of Raleigh; Adante Howell, 23, of Raleigh; Roger Trevon Howell, 22, of Raleigh; Sedrick Jones, 21 of Rocky Mount; Erica Janee Merritt, 21, of Nashville; Brittany White, 23, of Raleigh, and Derrick Antwan Fortune, 25, of Raleigh.

In the Durham case, investigators arrested: Jaime Farrah Boxley, 36; Christa Sharif Smith, 27; Christie Shari Smith, 27; Deanna Liles Smith, 52, and Lashaunnette Mary Smith, 32, all of Durham.

Lashaunnette Smith also was served with a 2003 warrant charging assault with a deadly weapon, according to Durham County Jail records.

The two being sought in the Wake case, the department said, were Raleigh residents Corey Jones, 28, and Maurice Ricks, 31.

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