Fraud investigation leads to charges against Charlotte woman, Durham man

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey today announced that an extensive investigation by special agents within the department’s Criminal Investigations Division has led to charges against two individuals.

Maria Nichole Brown, 36, of 2948 Coronet Way, Charlotte, was charged with insurance fraud and attempting to obtain property by false pretense. Ronald Wayne Baxter, 52, of 1009 Benning St., Durham, was arrested for possession of stolen goods as part of the same investigation. All three counts are felonies.

According to the criminal summons, on Nov. 28, 2023, Brown attempted to obtain $6,420 from USAA Insurance by presenting a falsified receipt for jewelry that she claimed was stolen from her car on Feb. 14, 2023.

According to an arrest warrant dated Jan. 5, special agents charged Baxter with possession of an iPhone 11 that was stolen from Brown’s car on that same day.

Brown is due in Durham County District Court on Feb. 15. Baxter is scheduled to appear in Durham County District Court on Feb. 21. He was given a $3,000 secured bond.

“This was a case with unique circumstances involving multiple parties and I’m proud of our agents for getting to the bottom of it,” Commissioner Causey said. “Insurance fraud hits consumers in the wallet with approximately 20 cents of every insurance premium dollar going to covering the cost of fraud. I’m fighting this by aggressively pursuing and prosecuting insurance fraud in North Carolina.”

If you suspect insurance fraud or other white-collar crimes, please report it. You may anonymously report fraud by calling the N.C. Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840 or toll free from anywhere in North Carolina at 888-680-7684. 

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.