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Michigan Resident Sentenced After Committing More Than $15,000 in Auto Insurance Fraud
January 27, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 27, 2022
(LANSING, MICH) Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox announced that a Michigan resident who pled guilty to auto insurance fraud has been sentenced to pay restitution and fines of more than $15,000.
Over the course of several months in 2016, Amelia Zea-Behnke, of Delta Township, submitted fraudulent automobile insurance claims seeking reimbursement for providing attendant care services to her son, who had previously been injured in an auto accident. A subsequent joint investigation by the DIFS Fraud Investigation Unit (FIU) and the Michigan Department of Attorney General proved that Ms. Zea-Behnke did not provide those attendant care services during the claimed time period and was therefore not entitled to the payments she had received.
As a result of the investigation, Ms. Zea-Behnke was charged with the following:
- four counts of insurance fraud; and
- four counts of false pretenses $1,000 - $20,000.
Ms. Zea-Behnke pled guilty to one count of false pretenses on October 27, 2021. Her plea bargain included the payment of $15,498.75 in restitution to the defrauded insurance company and the dismissal of the other pending charges. On January 12, 2022, Zea-Behnke was officially sentenced to pay that restitution as well as fines and costs, by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina in 30th Circuit Court, bringing the case to a close.
"We appreciate that our partnership with DIFS led to securing this plea and that restitution has been paid in full," said AG Nessel. "We will continue to work with them to ensure accountability against anyone who commits insurance fraud."
"Our FIU works hard to protect Michiganders from insurance fraud and ensure that the system Ms. Zea-Behnke took advantage of can continue to protect auto accident survivors," said Director Fox. "Every Michigander can support DIFS in fighting this type of fraud, which leads to higher insurance premiums for all of us, by reporting suspected insurance fraud online at Michigan.gov/ReportFraud2DIFS or by calling DIFS at 877-999-6442 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. "
The FIU investigates criminal and fraudulent activity related to the insurance and financial markets and works with the Attorney General and other law enforcement to prosecute these crimes. Suspected insurance fraud can be reported to DIFS safely, easily and, in most cases, anonymously by calling 877-999-6442 or online by visiting DIFS' website.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.