MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It wasn’t until Cynthia Davis had a minor fender bender that she realized she’d been taken to the cleaners. The car insurance policy that Davis needed to protect her, wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.
“Then I called my insurance agent and the number was temporarily not in service,” she said.
That’s because she had no legitimate insurance agent — she’d been sold a phony policy. The person who sold her that policy used the alias, Amelia Hall. She was later identified as 27-year-old Arlesia Shannell Robinson.
Robinson has been arrested and charged for allegedly forging Esurance auto policies. The policy that Davis purchased offered coverage for six months at a premium of $150, which she paid by check.
“You’re getting ripped off. It’s a crime. They’re stealing your money,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.
The Department of Commerce had its fraud investigators set up a purchase at a Brooklyn Center address. Robinson allegedly gave the undercover officer a “proof of insurance” document, which the Esurance company later confirmed didn’t exist.
Commissioner Rothman said the crime is like a ticking time bomb, doing the most harm when unsuspecting consumers need the coverage the most.
“If you thought you had insurance and you get in an accident, and don’t have it when you need the protection, that’s a problem for everybody in the accident,” he said.
Robinson was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated forgery. But the commissioner said the fraud bureau’s investigation is far from over.
“If it sounds too good to be true, don’t do it,” Davis said.
This is the third such policy mill scam the Commerce Department has uncovered in the last six months.
The ongoing danger is that there could be many, many more unsuspecting motorists holding onto fake auto insurance coverage. Investigators also allege that Robinson had been selling the phony policies since October 2013.