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Woman sentenced after pleading guilty to auto insurance fraud

A Michigan resident falsely claimed payments for caring for her son, who had been injured in a car crash

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Anita Fox say a Michigan resident who pled guilty to auto insurance fraud has been sentenced to pay restitution and fines of more than $15,000.

Officials say 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.

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 the restitution as well as fines and costs, 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.”

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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