RALEIGH — North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has announced the arrest of Alexander Ortiz Lopez, 39, of 807 Skybrook Falls Drive, Huntersville. He was charged with insurance fraud and attempting to obtain property by false pretense, both felonies.

Special agents with the Department of Insurance’s Criminal Investigations Division accuse Lopez of trying to obtain $23,000 from Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. to replace his wife’s diamond ring, which he said was lost June 24. An insurance investigator, who made a surprise visit to Lopez’s house on July 25, saw the ring on his wife’s finger, according to the arrest warrant.

Cabarrus County deputies and special agents arrested Lopez on Nov. 18. He was released from custody on a written promise to appear in court. He is due in Cabarrus County District Court on Dec. 10.

Fraud is felt every time consumers pay their insurance premiums. Causey estimates fraud costs North Carolinians between 15 and 20 cents on every dollar paid on insurance premiums.

“Insurance fraud affects our economy. Not only does it damage insurance companies, it cheats businesses and consumers, too,” Causey said. “This kind of white-collar crime is unacceptable. That’s why I’ve doubled the number of special agents to investigate insurance fraud. Cracking down on fraud will put more money in the pockets of businesses and consumers.”

To report suspected fraud, call the N.C. Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840. Callers may remain anonymous. Information is also available at www.ncdoi.gov.

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