Sumrall Man Arrested For Embezzling Money from Insurance Customers

September 12, 2017

Today, Attorney General Jim Hood announced the arrest of 30-year-old Brian Hudson, who is charged on a six-count indictment out of Lamar County.

Hudson, of Sumrall, turned himself into the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office Monday on two felony counts each of wire fraud and embezzlement as well as one misdemeanor count each of embezzlement and uttering forgery. While working as an insurance agent, Hudson embezzled more than $34,000. He converted customers’ premium payments for his own use and changed the mailing addresses of customers without their permission in order to receive their refund checks, which he also converted for his own use.

If convicted on all six counts, Hudson faces 21 years behind bars, $32,000 in fines, and full restitution. His bond was set at $15,000, and an arraignment was scheduled for October 2 at 1:00 p.m. A charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by Michael Stevens with the Attorney General’s Insurance Integrity Enforcement Bureau, with assistance from the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Steven Waldrup with the AG’s Public Integrity Division.


Lexington Woman Arrested for Insurance Fraud After House Fire

September 12, 2017

Today, Attorney General Jim Hood announced the arrest of 42-year-old Matoya Hillie Reaves on insurance fraud, wire fraud, and false pretense charges.

Reaves, of Lexington, attempted to defraud Liberty Mutual Insurance Company by filing false claims, including fake invoices appearing to be from Ashley Furniture and other businesses, for items she claimed were destroyed in a fire at her home. The indictment states Reaves received unlawful payments in excess of $500. She was arrested Friday by Investigator Anita Ray with the Attorney General’s Office and booked into the Holmes/Humphreys Regional Correctional Facility.

If convicted on all counts, Reaves faces up to 18 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. A charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by Investigator Anita Ray and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Steven Waldrup, both with the Attorney General’s Insurance Integrity Enforcement Bureau.

 


Southwest Mississippi Man Arrested for Attempting False Pretense

September 11, 2017

Today, Attorney General Jim Hood announced the arrest of 45-year-old John M. Chance, Jr. on one charge of attempting to commit false pretense.

Chance, of Brookhaven, turned himself in to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office Friday. He was indicted last month by an Adams County Grand Jury for attempting to obtain the release of an insurance policy assignment by presenting false release forms to the Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development District, which is based in Natchez. The indictment states Chance delivered those forms seeking to obtain funds in an amount greater than $500 on insurance policies written by Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company but that the scheme failed when the Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development District determined that the release of assignment forms being presented by Chance were fraudulent.

If convicted, Chance faces up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. His bond was set at $5,000, and an arraignment was scheduled for September 21 at 1:30 p.m. A charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by Michael Stevens with the Attorney General’s Insurance Integrity Enforcement Bureau and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Robert “Bob” Anderson with the AG’s Public Integrity Division.


Clinton Man Convicted for Strangling, Hanging Mother of His Child from Bridge

September 11, 2017

Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that 39-year-old Donald Turner, of Clinton, was convicted on charges of aggravated assault with a firearm, aggravated domestic violence, and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

Darnell “Slick” Turner

Also known as Darnell “Slick” Turner, he was found guilty by a Hinds County trial jury Thursday on one count of each charge. He was arrested in April 2016 after being indicted for beating the then-22-year-old mother of one of his children, shooting into the car she was in, and dragging her to a bridge where he strangled her before suspending her over the railing. After Turner left the scene in the Washington Addition neighborhood in Jackson, he returned and assaulted a person who was trying to assist the initial victim. He then drove the mother of his child home while continuing to beat her.

“This heinous act of strangling a woman while dangling her over a bridge deserves maximum punishment,” said General Hood. “Domestic violence is a serious offense. I’m glad to see that a Hinds County jury recognized that fact and stood for protecting other victims of domestic violence. This should send a strong message to other offenders.”

The Attorney General’s Office received this case after Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith recused himself due to an admission in open court that he previously represented Turner and that Turner visited him in his home.

Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Weill, Sr. scheduled a sentencing hearing for 1:00 p.m. on October 17. Turner faces up to 45 years in prison.

This case was investigated by the Jackson Police Department with assistance from Attorney General Investigators Larry Ware, Christopher Watkins and Jerry Spell. The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stan Alexander and Special Assistant Attorney General Patrick Beasley.


Father Sentenced for Failing to Pay $23,000 in Child Support

September 8, 2017

Abdalrahim Shadi Hasain, 38

Today, Attorney General Jim Hood announced the sentencing of a Memphis man for failing to pay more than $23,000 in child support for his daughter on the Mississippi Coast.

Abdalrahim Shadi Hasain, 38, was sentenced Thursday to five years in MDOC custody by Harrison County Circuit Judge Christopher Schmidt. Hasain, who was previously convicted in Oktibbeha County for aggravated assault, must serve four of those years, with one year of post-release supervision. Judge Schmidt also ordered him to pay more than $23,000 in restitution.

“Parents of Mississippi children who are required by law to pay child support should take this as an example of what will happen if you fail your children,” said General Hood. “This is more than monetary support, and when a parent refuses to pay their end, innocent children and responsible parents are caused to suffer. Our office is doing its part to prevent that from happening to other families.”

Hasain was found guilty by a Harrison County jury last month on one count of felony non-support of a child. It was proven at trial the defendant, who was working as a barber at the time of his arrest, had the means to pay the child support but willfully refused to do so in excess of $23,000. In the 15 years he was ordered to pay child support, he only paid $40, which was paid after his indictment and arrest. He was immediately taken into custody and booked into the Harrison County Jail.

This case was investigated by the Attorney General’s Child Desertion Unit and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorneys General Kimberly T. Purdie and Jim Giddy.


AG Hood Warns Drivers of Resale on Flood-Damaged Vehicles

September 7, 2017

Attorney General Jim Hood is warning Mississippians of the possibility of the sale of flood-damaged vehicles after recent storms in Texas and Louisiana.

“We saw this with Hurricane Katrina and previous flooding disasters in neighboring states,” said General Hood. “That’s why we are warning drivers now of people who use a natural disaster to take advantage of others to make a buck on a car they know is not a safe ride.”

Car buyers should be cautious when shopping at used car markets, particularly after a flood event. Extra inspection should be given to these cars to be sure the vehicle you are buying was not damaged in a storm and being covered up as a deal.

General Hood and his Consumer Protection Division offer these tips when car shopping:

  • Inspect vehicles carefully, paying attention to hidden areas that could collect mud or silt.
  • Look for water stains, mildew, or sand under the carpet and floor mats and in the console and wheel well, where the spare tire is stored. Also look for fogging or moisture in the interior lights, exterior lights, and dashboard.
  • Smell the interior of the car. A heavy aroma of cleaners and disinfectants could be a sign that someone’s trying to mask a mold or odor problem.
  • Feel and listen for problems. Have your mechanic inspect the car’s mechanical and electrical components, and systems that contain fluids, for water contamination. Notice if anything feels or sounds unusual.
  • Understand the difference between “salvage branded title” and “flood branded title.” A salvage branded title means the car was declared a total loss by an insurance company because of a serious accident or some other problems. A flood branded title means the car has damage from sitting in water deep enough to fill the engine compartment. The brand is a permanent record that prints on the title. Therefore, when you are buying a vehicle, be sure to check the front of the title for any brands that provide important information about the condition of the vehicle. Examples of these brands include the following: salvage, rebuilt, flood-damaged, and hail-damaged. The title status is part of a vehicle history report.
  • Know that some vehicles cannot be titled or tagged.  Some states issue Certificates of Destruction on the vehicles that have flooded in their state.  If a vehicle has a Certificate of Destruction and/or a brand of “Junk”, “Parts Only” or “Non-Repairable” issued by ANY state, these vehicles cannot be titled or tagged in the State of Mississippi.
  • Obtain a vehicle history report. The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s free database includes flood damage and other information. Also read through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System reports, which protect buyers from concealed vehicle histories as the only public system that requires insurance carriers, auto recyclers, junk and salvage yards, and states to report vehicle history information.
  • Do your research. Contact our Consumer Protection Division or the Better Business Bureau of Mississippi to see if they have complaints against the company.
  • Take time to shop around, and be suspicious of any price that seems unusually high or low.

If you suspect a dealer is knowingly selling a flood-damaged car or a salvaged vehicle as a good-condition, used car, contact your auto insurance company, local law enforcement agency, or Attorney General Jim Hood’s Consumer Protection Division at 601-359-4230 or 800-281-4418.

 


Magee Man Arrested for Failure to Pay Child Support

September 5, 2017

Today, Attorney General Jim Hood announced the arrest of 35-year-old Jimmy Allen Parish for failing to pay child support.

Parish, of Magee, was arrested Tuesday by the Simpson and Harrison County Sheriff’s Offices after being indicted by a Harrison County Grand Jury on one felony count of non-support of a child. The indictment states he willfully neglected or refused to support his child for almost 11 years. He was booked into the Simpson County Jail awaiting transfer to Harrison County. Investigators Michael Stevens and Johnny Watkins with the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division assisted in the arrest.

Parish faces up to five years in prison, restitution, and a $500 fine. A charge is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated and will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Child Desertion Unit, with Special Assistant Attorney General Kimberly T. Purdie as prosecutor.


Central Mississippi Man Arrested on Embezzlement, Wire Fraud Charges

September 1, 2017

 

Charles Myrick Winstead

Today, Attorney General Jim Hood announced the arrest of 54-year-old Charles Myrick Winstead on multiple charges.

Winstead, of Terry, was arrested at his home Friday by deputies with the Madison County and Hinds County Sheriff’s Departments. An investigation led by Investigator Jerry Spell with the Attorney General’s Insurance Integrity Enforcement Bureau found Winstead was embezzling and converting money for his own use as a licensed agent for Nationwide Insurance Company. A Madison County Grand Jury indicted him for allegedly embezzling more than $25,000. He is charged with two counts of embezzlement and one count of wire fraud. He was booked into the Madison County Sheriff’s Department without bond set pending his initial appearance, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

If convicted on all three counts, Winstead faces up to 35 years in prison and $60,000 in fines. A charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Special Assistant Attorney General Steven Waldrup with the AG’s Public Integrity Division will prosecute this case.