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Former Haynesville Insurance Agent is Booked in Insurance Fraud Scheme

Baton Rouge- A former Haynesville insurance agent was booked today in an alleged insurance fraud scheme involving the sale of worthless insurance coverage, according to Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown.

Linda H. Rupert, 50, was booked into the Claiborne Parish Jail on counts of filing false public documents, misappropriation of insurance premiums, selling insurance without a license and felony theft.

Investigators said Ms. Rupert accepted insurance premiums but no valid insurance policies were issued. Investigators also seized a van full of records from her office in the investigation which was a joint operation with the Insurance Department, State Police and Claiborne Parish Sheriff Kenneth Volentine.

"This is part of a continuing investigation of suspected fraudulent activities," said Commissioner Brown. "We won't know more until we go through records seized in the case," he said.

Commissioner Brown said the activities were part of a crackdown on insurance fraud around the state. Recent arrests in unrelated cases were made in Houma and Lafayette, but both cases involved fraud by agents.

"The problem is that we suspect that there are numerous people in the Haynesville area who think they have insurance, when in fact they don't, even though they have paid their premiums," said Commissioner Brown. "We hope to determine, after further investigation, just how widespread the fraud is and how many victims are involved," said Commissioner Brown.

Commissioner Brown said today's actions are part of a sweep being made around the state by the Department of Insurance and the State Police Task Force on Insurance. "Insurance Fraud is a huge problem in Louisiana. Claims fraud alone in Louisiana is estimated at $2.3 billion a year," said Commissioner Brown. "And that does not even include agent fraud." He noted, however, that most agents are honest and hard working.

Commissioner Brown said Ms. Rupert first received an agent's insurance license in 1986, but that license expired in May 1999.

He said she is alleged to have accepted premiums and issued insurance identification cards without actually placing valid coverage through an insurance company.