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Published Sat, Oct 27, 2012 08:00 PM
Modified Fri, Oct 26, 2012 07:31 PM

Insurance agent from Wendell charged with embezzlement

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- ajames@newsobserver.com

RALEIGH -- A former Allstate agent from Wendell has been charged with embezzling money from Spanish-speaking clients by telling them she was arranging coverage and then keeping the money they paid.

Leilani Flete Arellano, 23, of 1067 Lake Wendell Road is also accused of collecting fees for services that are supposed to be free to customers, according to the North Carolina Department of Insurance. Arellano was arrested October 18.

Department investigators charged her with five counts each of embezzlement by an insurance agent and obtaining property by false pretense, and one count of attempting to obtain property by false pretense. She’s out of jail under $20,000 bond.

Arellano was accused of stealing $360 from clients, according to Tammy Amaon, spokeswoman for the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. There may be other victims who have not come forward yet. Arellano was one of the few Spanish-speaking agents in the area, so she was responsible for many clients.

Officials said she worked for Allstate Insurance from January to July, when she was fired from the office where she worked, Rains & Associates Insurance, in Garner. Arellano was fired because a client reported to the owner of the agency that she had been overstating the price of the premium, Amaon said.

Customers were sent bills for the balance of their payments or got notices that policies had lapsed because Allstate had not received payments, the department said.

Victims are from both Johnston and Wake Counties. Since Arellano worked as a Spanish-speaking agent, all of the victims were Spanish-speaking clients. The policies that were affected were all auto policies.

The Department of Insurance asks anyone who believes they were a victim of this embezzlement scheme to contact the Criminal Investigations Division at (919) 807-6840 orDet. Jamey Snipes of the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office at (919) 989-5020.

James: 919-553-7234

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