Contractor Accused Of Defrauding Insurer Of $1.75 Million
Complaints Stemmed From 2006 Hail Storm
Last Updated: 1711 days ago
A contractor was arrested on 14 felony charges Wednesday following a long investigation stemming from insurance repairs following a 2006 hailstorm that did millions of dollars of damage to Indianapolis-area homes.Indianapolis Metro police said Joseph M. Radcliff, 33, owner of CPM Construction at 1275 D Racquet Club N. Dr. in Indianapolis, or his employees intentionally damaged the roofs of homes insured by State Farm in an attempt to get large settlements from the insurer.CPM operates in Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, Florida and possibly Missouri, IMPD Sgt. Matt Mount said.Radcliff faces numerous counts of corrupt business influence, insurance fraud, criminal mischief and fraud.Officials said the fraudulent activities cost State Farm $1.75 million. He was arrested Wednesday morning as he prepared to go into an arbitration hearing on a State Farm insurance claim.Investigators told 6News' Renee Jameson that there could be hundreds of victims and that the investigation is far from over.LaShonda Ross said CPM replaced her roof after the storm, collected money from her insurance company and then kept coming back for more, threatening to put a lien on her home."I'm glad there's other people involved so they know ... what I've been screaming about for months now," Ross said.The charges against Radcliff don't involve Ross' home.Todd Burris, of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, said Radcliff engaged in what is known as dime spinning, a practice in which dimes are used to damage shingles.
"During the course of the investigation, we were able to come up with some evidence that text messages were sent from CPM Construction phones, basically telling storm chaser workers that were in Indianapolis to stop ... dime spinning on the roofs, that State Farm was on to them," Burris said. "Fraud
affects everybody's insurance premium."As of August 2008, State Farm had paid out more than $265 million in insurance claims related to the April 2006 storm. State insurance regulators have been investigating the company's handling of claims.State Farm issued this statement late Wednesday, which read in part:"As the nation's largest property and casualty insurance company, State Farm is committed to helping law enforcement in developing and implementing programs that help curb crimes like fraud because it impacts our business and our customers."Radcliff bonded out of jail Wednesday and was scheduled to make a court appearance Thursday.