Officials with the Georgia Insurance commissioners’ Office, along with Madison County Sheriff’s investigators, arrested a Madison County man on 15 counts of insurance fraud and two counts of forgery at his New Haven Church Road home Tuesday morning.
Insurance commissioner Ralph Hudgens’ office says James Travis Williams, 34, allegedly took approximately $30,000 in premium payments from policyholders and pocketed it for his own use.
Multiple officers in four vehicles went to Williams’ residence, which is surrounded by woods and cow pastures on the quiet curvy country road, early Tuesday. They surrounded the residence and were admitted without incident, bringing Williams out in handcuffs a short time later.
According to a press release from the commissioner’s office, Williams formerly owned and operated Tri-County Insurance Agency at 665 Cook Street, Royston. His license to sell insurance in Georgia was relinquished in October of 2013 when he signed a consent order agreeing to voluntarily surrender his agent’s license.
Agents said the surrender of his license was the result of an ongoing investigation by the insurance commissioner’s fraud unit.
Williams was booked into the Madison County Jail Tuesday for later transfer to Franklin County. No bond has been set as of this posting.
According to the investigation, Williams allegedly collected premium payments on a variety of insurance products and never forwarded those premiums to the appropriate insurance companies for coverage.
Glenn Allen, of the Public Information Division of Hudgens’ office, said Madison County charges will also likely be issued. He said among Williams’ alleged Madison County victims are an elderly woman, who took out an annuity with Williams’ company and a farmer who took out an insurance policy.
“This office will not tolerate any insurance agent stealing from his or her customer,” Hudgens said. “Such actions constitute a violation of a trust between an agent and policyholder, a violation we take very seriously.”
Insurance fraud is a felony with a penalty of two to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Commissioner Hudgens urges citizens who may have conducted insurance transactions with Williams or Tri-County Insurance Agency to contact their insurance company to verify their coverage. Consumers can also contact Hudgens’ office at 1-800-656-2298. Calls are taken from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
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