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'Policy Mill': Twin Cities woman charged with selling bogus car insurance

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A Brooklyn Center woman is charged with forgery for allegedly selling fake car insurance to unsuspecting drivers.

WCCO reports the Commerce Department set up a purchase from Arlesia Robinson, whom authorities say was using the alias Amelia Hall. Robinson is accused of giving the undercover officer a proof of insurance document for an Esurance policy that did not exist.

Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman tells WCCO such fraud is typically not discovered until the victim is in an accident and needs their insurance. The TV station spoke with a woman who says she purchased a policy from Amelia Hall and tried calling her after a fender bender only to find the number was not in service.

Prosecutors say Robinson began selling the bogus insurance policies last October but they offered no estimates of how many people may have purchased them.

In announcing the prosecution of Robinson, the Commerce Department calls the case the third "policy mill" its fraud bureau has uncovered in Minnesota in the last six months. The department says if Robinson is convicted she could be sentenced to as much as 20 years in prison and a $40,000 fine.

So, how can you avoid discovering at the worst time that the premiums you're paying are for a non-existent policy?

The Commerce Department suggests you verify that the person you're buying the policy from is, in fact, an insurance agent. Their website has a License Lookup tool where you can do that for any type of insurance agent.

Insurance fraud can take several different forms, but the website CarsDirect says fake insurance papers are becoming more common.

Last October – which is when prosecutors claim Robinson started her scam – a Detroit woman was charged with selling more than 300 fake Ameriprise insurance policies to drivers.

Another variation of the fake insurance policy popped up in northern Iowa last week. Federal authorities are prosecuting an agent they say put the names of real people on fake life insurance applications, which she then submitted to her employer to receive a commission.

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