DETROIT (WWJ) – For hundreds of metro Detroiters, the opportunity to purchase full auto insurance coverage with a small down payment and low monthly payments seemed too good to be true.
Turns out, it was.
The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said 40-year-old Timmica Morton, a Wayne State University employee, has been charged with selling more than 300 false Ameriprise auto insurance policies to drivers, primarily from Detroit.
Morton was arraigned Tuesday on four felony charges that include using a computer to commit a crime, possession of counterfeit insurance policies and insurance fraud. She also was charged as a habitual offender (second offense), and is currently being held in the county jail on a $50,000 bond.
Morton is accused of using WSU computers to access insurance policy applications and create false banking information for more than 300 insurance applications. She allegedly collected fees ranging from $30 to $300 from the buyers, police said.
An investigation was launched after Ameriprise officials noticed a spike in new policies with false banking information from May to July of this year.
In addition to Detroit motorists, police said drivers from Oak Park, Lincoln Park, Dearborn Heights, West Bloomfield, Grosse Pointe and Highland Park also purchased fraudulent policies.
One woman told police she paid $175 as a down payment for a policy for her son that was to include monthly payments not to exceed $200. When the policy arrived, the first payment was for $800 and the banking information used to obtain the policy wasn’t accurate, the woman told police.
Morton, who works in the WSU’s environmental health department, accepted cash payments for the policies, police said. The business was mostly generated by word of mouth and email.
“We’re tired of good citizens being victimized by crime,” Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said in a statement. “In this case, a lot of people were scammed. Fortunately, with some good police work we were able to stop this scam from spreading.”