Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey today announced the arrest of Phillip Brandon Edwards, Mark William Madison and Joel Jayson Smith for charges including insurance fraud, felony conspiracy, injury to real property and attempting to obtain property by false pretense in Cabarrus and Davidson counties.
Department of Insurance criminal investigators accuse Edwards, Madison, Smith of conspiring to defraud and receive insurance payment from United Services Automobile Association (USAA) by providing false and misleading statements in regard to roofing damages. Investigators allege Edwards, Madison and Smith deliberately damaged at least two homes to obtain insurance payment under false pretense. A fourth man, was initially charged with one count of injury to real property in Davidson County, later had his charges dismissed.
In 2014 and 2015 the National Insurance Crime Bureau received over 150 referral complaints on potential fraudulent roofing claims in North Carolina. Complaints primarily consist of damage to shingles and roofing components with claims submitted for wind and hail damage. Other complaints consist of inflated damage and repair costs. These types of claims and complaints continue to rise.
This is an ongoing concern in North Carolina and the Department of Insurance needs your help in the fight against insurance fraud. Please notify the Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division if you have any information involving fraud. Report fraud by calling 919-807-6840, emailing email@example.com or visiting the Online Fraud Reporting System here: http://www.ncdoi.gov/reportfraud
The National Insurance Crime Bureau, Thomasville Police Department, Davidson County Sheriff's Office and Concord Police Department assisted in the investigation.
Phillip Brandon Edwards, 33, of 15 Miosha St., Durham; was charged with one count of felony conspiracy in Davidson County. Edwards was arrested on Jan. 26 in Durham County and placed under a $6,000 bond.
Mark William Madison, 33, of 877 Old Cedar Circle, York, SC; was charged with one count each of insurance fraud, attempting to obtain property by false pretense and injury to real property in Cabarrus County. Madison was arrested on April 21 in Cabarrus County and placed under a $3,000 bond.
Joel Jayson Smith, 30, of 4123 Amber Stone Way, Durham; was charged with one count each of insurance fraud, attempting to obtain property by false pretense and injury to real property in Davidson County. Smith was arrested on Jan. 25 in Davidson County and placed under a $50,000 bond.
"According to the FBI, insurance fraud costs the average family between $400 and $700 per year in the form of increased premiums," said Commissioner Causey. "Consumer protection is my number one priority, and I will continue to fight insurance fraud with your help."
The Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn state law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating and prosecuting claims of insurance and bail bonding fraud. To report suspected fraud, contact the Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840. Callers may remain anonymous. Information is also available at www.ncdoi.gov/fraud-control.