COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - One right after the other, four women and one man left the federal courthouse in downtown Columbus Thursday afternoon after pleading not guilty to insurance fraud.
According to court documents, Shawnea De La Torre, Jesus De La Torre, Benita Cash, Candace Garcia and Stephanie Ervin are former Aflac customers who let their policies be used to submit fraudulent documents and reports to Aflac claiming injuries and disabilities, all for the sole purpose of getting money back from the company.
At the center of it all, a former Aflac employee named Danielle Mahone who worked in the claims department. Court records show she helped recruit the policy holders to keep the scheme going and money coming from the faulty claims.
Documents state physician letters, car accident reports, radiology reports and hospital records were altered and used to back up the claims.
In light of this new court case, a representative for Aflac released this statement to WTVM:
"The company constantly reviews its claims for fraudulent activities and works with authorities to make sure anyone abusing the system is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Laura Kane, Vice President of External Communication for Aflac World Wide Headquarters.
Those in court Thursday were released on their own recognizance until their next court appearance.
The other eight people indicted in this case, including the alleged ring leaders will appear in federal court Friday.