Wilson man charged with insurance fraud

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A Wilson man is accused of faking involvement in a car crash in an attempt to swindle an insurance company.

Antonio Dequank Applewhite, 39, of 1710 Dartmore Drive, was arrested last month on one count each of insurance fraud, attempting to obtain property by false pretense and filing a false police report, the N.C. Department of Insurance said Thursday.

Investigators say Applewhite told Allstate Insurance Co. and law enforcement officers he was in a car that was involved in a wreck in an attempt to obtain a medical payment.

Applewhite was not involved in the wreck, Department of Insurance officials allege.

In a Tuesday speech to Wilson business leaders, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said fighting fraud is a top priority for his department, which employs 22 sworn law enforcement officers who investigate suspected insurance fraud.

“Insurance fraud adds 10 to 15 percent to the cost of our insurance,” Causey said at a Wilson Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

The Republican insurance commissioner said he plans to ask lawmakers for more funding so he can hire additional criminal investigators.

Applewhite was arrested on the charges Feb. 20 and jailed under a $10,000 secured bond.

He has a criminal record dating to 1994 and has been convicted of common-law robbery, drug offenses, attempted misdemeanor breaking or entering, malicious conduct by a prisoner, driving while impaired and various traffic violations.