A Locust Grove man accused of cashing nearly $80,000 in fraudulent insurance checks issued by his sister was sentenced to 15 years, three of them in prison.
Christopher Lorenzo Battle, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act last week, according to a Monday release from the Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney's office.
Battle's sister, 44-year-old Arleatha Battle Martin, received the same sentence in early 2017. The siblings must help pay $79,538.71 in restitution.
Martin, the wife of Jones County Commissioner Daylon Martin, started working as a claims adjuster at Allstate Insurance Co. on Riverside Drive in 2011. Battle worked as a contractor and CEO of Mechanical Energy Solutions Inc. in Locust Grove. The siblings were arrested in 2015.
A random audit in 2013 uncovered at least 23 instances in which Martin issued fraudulent insurance settlement checks to Battle and the company he worked for.
Auditors were alerted to suspicious activity after Battle was paid $6,275 in connection with a 2011 school bus crash in Douglas County. Investigators determined that Battle's children — who were supposedly injured in the wreck — weren't on the bus and didn't even attend school in Douglas County.
“Stealing from an insurance company is the same as stealing from a person," District Attorney David Cooke said in the release. "The losses are passed on to honest paying customers to foot the bill. "