Smithfield woman arrested on fraud charges


North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey today announced the arrest of Charlene Barnes, 60, of 20-A N. Sussex Drive, Smithfield. Barnes was charged with one felony count of insurance fraud and one felony count of attempting to obtain property by a false pretense.

Barnes is accused of falsely reporting to Nationwide Insurance Co. that a loss occurred after she applied for and received a renters policy, when in fact the loss occurred two days before she applied for the policy.

According to the arrest warrant, the attempted false pretense charge consists of Barnes filing a fraudulent insurance claim in an attempt to receive an approximately $5,000 insurance claim payment.

The actions occurred between Jan. 8 and March 14.

Barnes was arrested on March 15 in Johnston County and placed under a $15,000 secured bond.

Insurance fraud costs American consumers approximately $80 billion dollars a year. According to Commissioner Causey, fraud costs North Carolinians between 15 and 20 cents of every dollar paid on insurance premiums — and it’s getting worse.

“I am determined to stem the tide of insurance fraud in this state in order to save residents money,” said Commissioner Causey. “That’s why I am dedicated to the mission of our NCDOI law enforcement officers who investigate and prosecute claims of insurance and bail bonding fraud.”

To report suspected fraud, contact the N.C. Department of Insurance Criminal Investigation Division at 919-807-6840.  Callers may remain anonymous.  Information is also available at


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