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Surf City insurance agent charged with embezzlement

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RALEIGH, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Nell Marie Griffin, 34, of 140 Douglas Drive, Holly Ridge; she is charged with one count of embezzlement by an insurance agent.

Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that between Nov. 1, 2011, and Feb. 15, 2012 — while working as an agent for SFI Group Insurance in Surf City — Griffin embezzled $7,853.77 that was submitted by customers for auto insurance premium payments. SFI Group discovered the alleged embezzlement and filed a complaint with the Surf City Police Department, which conducted a joint investigation with the North Carolina Department of Insurance. SFI Group made the payments on the insurance policies to ensure that its customers had no lapse in coverage.

Griffin surrendered at the Pender County Sheriff’s Office on June 13 and was placed under a $10,000 unsecured bond.

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.

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