by: Mark Becker Updated:
CHARLOTTE - North Carolina Department of Insurance commissioner Wayne Goodwin announced the arrest of a Charlotte man accused of hail damage insurance claim fraud.
Ronald Leonard Pierce, 56, was charged with 108 counts of obtaining property by false pretense.
After a yearlong investigation, Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that Pierce was acting as a public adjuster without a license to provide those services for two of his businesses, Clear Choice Construction and Piedmont Disaster Services.
Pierce is accused of providing inflated hail damage repair estimates to homeowners.
“For all of the 108 charges we're looking at a sum of $450,000 in fraudulent and allegedly fraudulent claim payments,” said Marni Schribner, a spokeswoman with the NC Department of Insurance.
It’s not the only state agency that has been tracking Pierce’s businesses.
Eyewitness News checked records with the NC Secretary of State’s Office and found that the state had revoked one of Pierce’s business licenses in 2013 and notified him that they may do the same with his second company because he had not filed the required annual reports with their office.
Pierce’s family did not want to discuss the case with Eyewitness News but they hired attorney Brad Smith to represent Pierce at his first appearance Tuesday afternoon.
“As far as I know he has no criminal history at all, he's had no run ins at all with any sort of police authority,” Smith said after the hearing.
Pierce was arrested on June 21 in Mecklenburg County and placed under a $540,000 bond.
The Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn state law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating and prosecuting claims of insurance and bail bonding fraud.
More than 1,000 arrests have taken place since Goodwin took office in 2009.
The Department of Insurance says an estimated 10 cents of every dollar paid in premiums goes towards the payment of fraudulent claims. To report suspected fraud, contact the Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840.
To learn more about how to report suspected fraud, visit the Department of Insurance's website by clicking here.