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Area men arrested for insurance fraud

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Sometimes tough times call for desperate measures. In this economy, people are coming up with ways to get a little bit of cash in their hands even if it means breaking the law.

The North Carolina Department of Insurance says staged auto accidents keep their investigators very busy. New Hanover and Pender County Sheriff's deputies arrested Zakia Perkins, John Murphy Jr, and Billy Joe Robinson. The three claimed they were victim's of a hit-and-run car accident on July 19 in rural Pender County, but investigators believe the car that allegedly fled was owned by Perkins. After submitting their claims, the three collected almost $30,000 from their insurance companies.

"Sometimes people have an attitude that the insurance companies have a lot of money and I pay too much in premiums already, so I can cheat the system, but what they are not realizing when they have that attitude is that everybody pays when insurance fraud is committed because we all pay a higher premium," NCDOI spokesperson Kerry Hall said.

The three are charged with one count of insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretense.

The DOI says incidents like this one happen more often than people think. An estimated 10 cents of every dollar paid in insurance premiums goes toward the payment of fraudulent claims. So it is a recurring problem in the state.

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