Columbus man arrested in $331000 insurance fraud scheme
A Columbus man was among two people arrested early Wednesday in an insurance fraud scheme involving smartphones and tablets, according to the Office of Commissioner of Insurance.
Jaylen Table, 17, of Columbus and Rita Geddis McKay, 48, of Richland, face two counts each of insurance fraud and theft by receiving stolen property. He was booked into the Muscogee County Jail, while she was placed in the Stewart County Jail.
The suspects were accused of filing fraudulent insurance claims with Asurion Insurance Services for smartphones and tablets that they stated were either damaged or never delivered.
Between January 2015 and October 2017, they allegedly used multiple identities to establish accounts with Verizon Wireless to steal and resell iPads and iPhones.
Records from Asurion show they collectively filed 371 fraudulently claims and illegally obtained approximately $331,021 in replacement merchandise, said Glenn Allen, the communications director with the Office of Commissioner of Insurance.
“Many of the claims filed by these individuals allege similar damage or mishaps to their wireless device,” Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said in a news release. “Asurion alerted us that there appeared to be a pattern of fraud with these claims, and our investigation revealed that was indeed the case.”
State fraud investigators said that once the suspects’ accounts were activated with Verizon, they would allegedly add fictitious or non-working iPhones and IPads to the accounts. Allen said they would then place insurance on them with Asurion and file theft and damage claims on the device.
Officials said Asurion would ship a replacement device, but the suspects would say the merchandise was never delivered or arrived damaged. None of the the smartphones and tablets they said were damaged were returned as required.
Investigators said Table and McKay ultimately sold the merchandise on secondary markets.
Insurance fraud is a felony and carries a penalty of two to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000.
Anyone with any information about this case or any suspicious insurance scheme should call Hudgens’ Office at 1-800-656-2298.