Richland woman, Columbus teen charged in $300K+ insurance scheme

Richland woman, Columbus teen charged in $300K+ insurance scheme

(WTVM) - A Stewart County woman and a Muscogee County teenager were arrested on felony counts related to an insurance scheme.

According to the Georgia Department of Insurance, the scheme involved more than $300,000. The suspects are accused of filing multiple fraudulent insurance claims with Asurion Insurance services for alleged damaged or undelivered smartphones and tablets.

Rita McKay, 42, of Richland, Georgia and a 17-year-old male from Columbus are each charged with two counts of insurance fraud and two counts of theft by receiving stolen property.

An investigation revealed that both suspects used multiple identities between Jan. 2015 and Oct. 2017 to establish accounts with Verizon Wireless to steal and resale iPhones and iPads. A combined 371 claims were filed to Asurion and approximately $331,021.30 was illegally obtained in replacement merchandise.

State Fraud Investigators say that after activating accounts with Verizon, the suspects would add incorrect or non-working iPhones and iPads to the accounts, place Asurion insurance on them, and file theft and damage claims to the devices. Asurion would then ship a replacement device, but the suspects would claim the merchandise was never received or arrived damaged.

Investigators say McKay and the teen sold the merchandise on secondary markets.

McKay is being held in the Stewart County Jail and the teen suspect is in the Muscogee County Jail.

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