COLUMBIA, S.C. – February 22, 2019 – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announces that Kayla Breann Payne, 26, of Sumter, South Carolina, entered a plea of guilty on November 8, 2018 on an insurance fraud charge. Payne pleaded guilty to one count of Making a False Statement or Misrepresentation $1,000 or More.
The Honorable R. Ferrell Cothran accepted the plea and sentenced Payne to three years in prison on the charge. That sentence is suspended to 18 months of probation. As a part of her probation, Payne must repay $800 restitution to USAA. Probation may terminate upon her repayment of the restitution.
“Our insurance fraud team has been doing a great job bringing to justice people who are guilty of trying to cheat the system,” said Attorney General Wilson. “People who commit this kind of fraud may think it’s a victimless crime that hurts only big companies that can afford it, but insurance fraud costs all of us in higher rates,” he said.
The incident began on September 22, 2017 near Lakewood High School in Sumter County. Payne, Davon Francis, and D’Aundre Wilson reported that they had just been in a hit-and-run vehicle accident. (Payne was the owner and driver of the vehicle.) A subsequent personal injury claim was filed by Payne. The claim was flagged as suspicious. After an investigation from the insurance company, it was revealed that a fraudulent medical bill in the amount of $8,608.50 was presented to USAA. The bill had Payne’s original charges inflated to higher rates. Payne’s original hospital bill was in the amount of $4,405. The fraudulent bill was also changed to self-pay.
Also, after an investigation by SLED, it was revealed that the accident was staged and set up by co-defendant/ring leader Gregory Vaughn. Ms. Payne admitted the accident was intentional and that she gave her hospital bills to Vaughn so he could alter them. The insurance company only paid out $800 for damage to the car before realizing the whole claim was fraudulent.
The Attorney General emphasizes other defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The cases were investigated by SLED and prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General LaRone Washington and Ruston Neely.
Insurance fraud is an expensive and often a dangerous crime that results in increased insurance costs for every household. While the exact amount of fraud is difficult to determine, the Insurance Information Institute estimates that 10% of the insurance industries’ losses and adjustment expenses can be attributed to fraud.
To report suspected insurance fraud, call the Insurance Fraud Hotline at (888) 95-FRAUD (888-953-7283). Callers can remain anonymous.
For more information, contact the South Carolina Insurance News Service at 803-252-3455 or use our contact form.