YADKINVILLE - A Yadkinville insurance agent is charged with one count each of embezzlement by an insurance agent, common law forgery and making a false statement.
North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin on Monday announced the arrest of Charles Everett Collins, 69, of 1535 St Andrews Court, Yadkinville.
Department of Insurance (NCDOI) criminal investigators allege that in December 2011, while working as an agent for a Yadkinville insurance agency, Collins forged the signature on a $4,452.00 refund check that was issued to a policyholder and deposited the funds into the agency’s bank account without the policyholder’s permission.
Investigators also accuse Collins of signing and issuing a certificate of insurance for a local sports club when he knew that the policy had been cancelled months prior for non-payment of premiums.
Collins is the owner and an agent of Moore-Moxley Insurance Agency in Yadkinville. Collins, who also serves as the Yadkinville Sertoma football commissioner, is active in the youth football league that has roots across the Yadkin Valley in Wilkes, Surry, Alleghany and Ashe counties.
Yadkin County pulled out of the league prior to the start of the 2012 season amid suspicions of illegal activity involving the handling of finances, insurance coverage and the quality of player equipment, according to Yadkin County Schools Superintendent and North Carolina High School Athletic Association Board of Directors President Stewart Hobbs.
Hobbs explained he advised the school board to pull out of Sertoma when the suspicions were raised around Collins.
“Last year there were some concerns brought to our attention,” he said. “Because there were some questions that could not be answered and for the lack of transparency and accountability, I recommended to our board that we take over middle school football and the little kids program.
“We decided that it was in the best interest of our kids to put middle school football under our umbrella and run it through the schools,” Hobbs continued. “The youth programs formed their own Mountain Valley Youth Athletic League - none of the Yadkin County youth football teams are associated with Sertoma.”
In late 2011, the school superintendents in Elkin and Wilkes, Yadkin, Ashe, Alleghany counties were made aware of the allegations against Collins. All of the superintendents, except Hobbs, met with Collins in December 2011 in North Wilkesboro.
The superintendents with Elkin City Schools and Wilkes, Ashe, Alleghany County Schools agreed to stay involved with Sertoma.
Wilkes County Schools Superintendent Marty Hemric told The Wilkes Journal Patriot in a February interview that the suspicions raised “…have been adequately addressed by Sertoma, and we have no legal reason to believe such accusations.”
Cox and Alleghany Sertoma coaches Kevin Spurlin and Tracy Bottomley brought their concerns up at a February commissioners meeting. The commissioners agreed to have county attorney Donna Shumate send a letter to the NCDOI to investigate.
According to the investigative narrative submitted by NCDOI examiners in April, in three letters dated Feb. 10, 2012 to the NCDOI, Shumate addressed questions about Collins.
In the first letter, Shumate submitted a certificate of insurance dated Sept. 6, 2011 that Collins issued for Yadkinville Sertoma Football. The certificate shows Grain Dealers Mutual as the general liability carrier with effective dates from Sept. 21, 2010 to Sept. 21, 2011.
Further investigation by the Department of Insurance shows the policy did not match records at Grain Dealers Mutual. Examiners concluded that “Charles Collins issued a fraudulent certificate of insurance,” according to the investigative narrative.
In the second letter, Shumate submitted a certificate of insurance dated July 22, 2010 issued by Collins’ son, Jeff (a Moore-Moxley insurance agent), for Yadkinville Sertoma Football. The certificate shows National Casualty Company as the general liability carrier with effective dates from Aug. 1, 2010 to Aug. 1, 2011.
A Scottsdale Insurance manager (National Casualty Company is a subsidiary) identified the certificate submitted by Jeff Collins was not a valid policy number, according to the investigative narrative. Examiners concluded that Jeff Collins “issued a certificate with incorrect information.”
In the third letter, Shumate submitted a certificate of insurance dated Sept. 6, 2011 that Charles Collins issued for Yadkinville Sertoma Football at PO Box 583, Yadkinville, NC 27055 for “accident insurance,” with Nationwide Insurance as the carrier effective Aug. 1, 2011 to Dec. 1, 2011.
Records show Nationwide Life Insurance Company issued a “Sports Accident Insurance Policy” to Yadkin County Football League at PO Box 428, Yadkinville, NC, 27055 effective Aug. 1, 2011 to Dec. 1, 2011.
Examiners concluded after reviewing the documentation that “Charles Collins issued the certificate with an incorrect named insured and address.”
The NCDOI conducted a targeted audit of the Agency on April 2, 2012, as a result of “several consumer complaints filed with the Consumer Services Division alleging possible fraudulent activity,” according to the Voluntary Settlement Agreement (VSA) between the NCDOI and Charles Collins.
The VSA was executed on July 20, 2012 in which Charles Collins agreed to pay a civil penalty of $3,000.
A VSA between the NCDOI and Jeff Collins resulted in a civil penalty of $2,000.
Charles Collins surrendered at the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 19 and was placed under a $50,000 unsecured bond. His first appearance in Yadkin County District Court is scheduled for Aug. 22.
The Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn state law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating and prosecuting claims of insurance and bail bonding fraud. Since Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin took office in 2009, criminal investigators have received more than 14,000 complaints, resulting in 602 arrests, 333 criminal convictions and more than 110 pending court cases. These efforts have delivered more than $48.5 million in restitution and recoveries for victims.
An estimated 10 cents of every dollar paid in premiums goes toward the payment of fraudulent claims. 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.com.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.