Agents in the Fraud Investigations Division of the Georgia Insurance Commissioner’s Office have made 49 arrests in the first half of 2019 and are set to pass the total number of arrests from last year (60) in just the third calendar quarter.
“Insurance Fraud is a very serious and widely-practiced crime. The schemes are elaborate and well-planned,” said Insurance Commissioner John F. King. “I am very proud of the success our agents have had this year in bringing these criminals to justice. I look forward to building on our success in the second half of the year.”
In February, Baldwin County Business owner Dean Harrison Grant was arrested on several counts of insurance fraud, among other charges. At that time, he was accused of receiving a total of $589,384.33 from his three victims for him to secure insurance related investments, $447,589.26 of which was taken from two elderly customers. A month later, Grant was accused of seven additional counts of Insurance Fraud and seven additional counts of Theft by Taking (Fiduciary). He was accused of taking an additional $785,000 from three customers for him to secure insurance-related investments, bringing the total monetary value received from the victims to $1,374,384.33.
In early March, agents arrested insurance agent Fereadoon “Frank” Kalantari at his home in Henry County. Kalantari faced 19 counts of insurance fraud and drug related charges after suspected black-tar heroin, suspected cocaine, and a large quantity of suspected schedule 4 narcotics were discovered in his home. Consequently, Kalantari’s wife, Afroz MotamedArdameh, 51, also was arrested and charged with 3 Counts of Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act. Kalantari was accused of stealing more than $200,000 in annuities from an elderly couple.
In early June, agents assisted the California Department of Insurance with the arrest and extradition of 2 individuals guilty of operating a $120 million insurance fraud scheme. Owens and Wilson allegedly created fake certificates of insurance claiming large groups of agricultural workers were insured when they were not. The certificates claimed the workers were temporary office staffers. The scheme collapsed when injury claims coming into California were not paid because there was never insurance on the workers to begin with. Two additional suspects were arrested in Florida for their alleged role in the scheme that stretched 6 states.
In the last couple of weeks, agents conducted raids throughout the state in an insurance fraud round up. 8 individuals were arrested in 10 days as a part of the round up. The 8 individuals arrested collectively face 22 counts of felony charges including insurance fraud, theft by deception, altering a motor vehicle ID plate, and several others.
In the 1st half of 2019, the Special Investigations Division under the Fraud Investigations Division has recovered 14 stolen vehicles valued at $436,000. Special Agents also assisted in the seizure of approximately $2.5 million in property and assets. In addition to the vehicles recovered and the seizure of property and assets, special agents assisted with the arrest of an active shooter in Stephens County.
The Fraud Investigations Division investigates illegal insurance activities that are perpetrated by companies, agents or individuals. Agents of the Fraud Investigations Division cover a wide variety of crimes and fraudulent schemes. The Fraud Investigations Division also investigates regulatory and administrative allegations of violations of the insurance code, and thereby assists the Department’s Legal Division in protecting Georgia consumers.
Insurance fraud is a felony punishable by imprisonment for two to ten years, or by a fine of up to $10,000, or both.