For Immediate Release
March 8, 2012
Catherine L. Bernhard
Senior Assistant Attorney General
Insurance Fraud Unit Prosecutor
Consumer Protection and Anti Trust Bureau
(603) 271-2898 or (603) 271-7973 x 235
Attorney General Michael A. Delaney and Insurance Commissioner Roger A. Sevigny announce today that Tammiann Searle of Kittery, Maine pleaded guilty in the Hillsborough County, Northern District Superior Court, to a Class B felony Insurance Fraud. As part of the terms of the plea, Ms. Searle received a sentence of 1½ to 3 years at the New Hampshire State Prison, and was fined $4,000. All of the prison sentence and $3,000 of the fine were suspended for two years upon good behavior. Ms. Searle was also required to make restitution of $24,139.00 to Liberty Mutual Insurance Corporation.
The charge stemmed from a suspicious claim which was investigated by the New Hampshire Insurance Department Fraud Unit. On June 3, 2009, Ms. Searle reported that the contents of her apartment were damaged beyond repair after water from firefighting efforts in the apartment upstairs, leaked down through the ceiling and walls. In order to receive the proceeds of her renter's policy with Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Ms. Searle signed a false proof of loss form and concealed property from inspection by Liberty Mutual adjusters by claiming that it had been taken to the dump because it was destroyed by water damage. Ms. Searle was paid by Liberty Mutual to replace all the items she claimed were destroyed.
Through its investigation, the Fraud Unit located many items which Ms. Searle claimed were destroyed. Some items were found in the possession of Ms. Searle's friends. These included high end bedroom, living room and dining room furniture sets, a 37" flat screen TV as well as other furnishings. The items were all in good condition and were either being stored or in use. All of the items recovered could be restored with little or no refurbishing.
The prosecution was the result of collaboration between the Attorney General's Office and the NH Insurance Department Fraud Unit. The Fraud Unit was formed under RSA 417 to investigate and prosecute Insurance Fraud and other insurance-related criminal activity with the assistance of the NH Department of Justice.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301