Investigators believe a Rome insurance agent was taking premium payments from his customers and putting them in his own pocket.
Officials from the Insurance Commissioner’s office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Rome police raided The Irwin Agency insurance offices early Thursday and arrested the 55-year-old owner, Marshall Irwin Jr., on fraud charges.
Agents confiscated files from Irwin’s office at 1850 Redmond Circle, and they believe Irwin may have pocketed as much as $20,000.
Customers of Irwin should make sure they actually have insurance policies, said Deputy Insurance Commissioner Jay Florence.
“Essentially, we believe that he was taking premiums from his customers, not giving it to the insurance companies and putting it in his own pocket,” Florence said.
“If you’ve been doing business with this agency, then please let us know. There’s no telling how many people are out there that have done business with him and not gotten insurance.”
The six warrants allege two different victims over a period of two years. Each fraud count is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
In both cases, involved companies or individuals thought they were making payments for workmen’s compensation policies.
“We’re here today doing a search warrant and we don’t know what we’ll find, we suspect there are more,” said Florence. “Any time that you catch a couple of instances there are normally more when you dive in and start looking at the books.”
The investigation of Irwin began with a customer complaint, but luckily neither of the complainants suffered losses as a result of their non-existent insurance, Florence said.
During the process of questioning agency employees at the office, at least one employee indicated that they were not licensed to sell insurance, Director of Fraud Investigations in the Insurance Commissioner’s office Sherry Mowell said.
The phone number for the Insurance Commissioner’s office is 800-656-2298.
The deputy commissioner said it is difficult to catch every instance of insurance fraud.
“We have an active fraud investigation unit that arrests people every month for this type of crime,” Florence said. “It’s difficult to know if you’re being defrauded.”
Irwin was being held in the Floyd County Jail on Thursday night without bond.