Crime

Sister, brother charged in insurance fraud scheme

A Macon insurance claims adjuster and her brother have been charged with multiple counts of insurance fraud stemming from their allegedly stealing more than $79,000 from filing false claims, authorities said.

Arleatha Martin, 42, of Macon, and her brother, 36-year-old Christopher Lorenzo Battle of Locust Grove, are each charged with seven counts of insurance fraud, seven counts of theft by deception and three counts of identity theft, according to the office of state Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.

Martin, who now works for Geico, was an adjuster in a Macon office working for Allstate Insurance in 2011 and 2012 when she allegedly used her position as a supervisor to produce fraudulent accident claims in Battle’s name.

She is accused of issuing settlement checks to Battle’s business, and the siblings split the money, said Glenn Allen, a spokesman for the commissioner’s office.

In one claim, Martin allegedly filed documents saying three of Battle’s children had been injured in an April 2011 school bus accident in Douglas County. A check was issued for $6,375 for the children’s injuries.

Investigators determined the children weren’t on the bus at the time of the crash, Allen said.

Martin was arrested Friday morning and was being held at the Bibb County jail on $57,850 bond, according to jail records.

Battle was booked into the county jail Friday afternoon. His bond also was set at $57,850, according to jail records.

Insurance fraud is a felony offense that can result in a punishment of up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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