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Local Insurance Agent Booked on Theft and Misappropriation

A local insurance agent was booked on theft and misappropriation counts, another in a series of insurance fraud arrests around the state, Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown said today.

Rebecca L. Ehrhardt, 45, of 16918 Pernecia Drive, Greenwell Springs, was booked into the Parish Prison late Thursday on a count of felony theft and 49 counts of misappropriation of insurance premiums, Commissioner Brown said.

The Department of Insurance issued a summary suspension of her insurance license along with a cease and desist order, Commissioner Brown said.

The arrest was one in a series of investigations carried out across the state by the Department of Insurance and the State Police Insurance Fraud Unit.

Recent arrests have been made in Church Point, Lafayette, Metairie, Monroe, Baton Rouge and Haynesville (in North Louisiana's Claiborne Parish).

"We are mounting this statewide crackdown because insurance fraud is very prevalent in Louisiana," said Commissioner Brown. He said some estimates put claims fraud alone in Louisiana at $2.3 billion a year, costing each Louisiana family an estimated $1,600 a year in higher insurance premiums.

"Insurance fraud is a major enterprise in Louisiana, and we want to send the message out there that we're working hard to bring law breakers to justice," said Commissioner Brown.

Ms. Ehrhardt was an employee of ABC Insurance Agencies at the time of the alleged wrongdoing. She is no longer an employee of that company.

Anyone who has any questions can call the Department of Insurance at 1 800-259-5300 or (local Baton Rouge) 342-5900.