February 2, 2023


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Indictment alleges Columbia residents involved in insurance billing scheme


An indictment that was unsealed Tuesday reveals an alleged insurance billing scheme where a group of 19 people collected $1.2 million. The scheme had been taking place since 2017.

The group used several platforms to communicate with each other before submitted insurance claims from vehicle crashes.

According to the indictment, the group used Snapchat, Gmail and Yahoo mail to communicate.

At the center of it all is Lawrence Lawhorn.

Lawrence Lawhorn

ABC 17 News reported in August Lawhorn was the victim of a shooting at the Columbia Mall. One week after the shooting, Lawhorn was arrested for insurance fraud.

Lawhorn himself made $1,500 in one instance in the scheme and $17,350 in another.

According to the indictment, several of the defendants named used either email for Snapchat to send pictures of insurance policies to Lawhorn or, in one instance, the address where the wreck took place.

In one instance, Larell Montez Bzanks sent a Snapchat message to Lawhorn four hours before a crash with the address of where the incident occurred.

On Oct. 2, 2019, Kathy Davy Kimhang was in a wreck with one of the defendants named. Lawhorn directed Kimhang what to tell a Progressive Insurance Company representative working in Columbia. Kimhang gave a recorded statement to the insurance company saying where she denied speaking to Lawhorn. She eventually received $18,429.64 from the incident.

Three defendants, Lanay Deshawn Wallace, Tara Colleen Jackson, and Tiera Rachell Wallace are related to Lawhorn. Jackson is named as Lawhorn’s mother.

Several defendants also made claims to insurance companies from wrecks, claiming they did not know the other party involved.

On Feb. 27, 2019, Cornelius Deshawn Phelps made a claim for a wreck involving Eriona Tyjaez Fleeks. Phelps claimed not to know Fleeks but had contacted Fleeks by telephone before the wreck happened.

There are 69 charges listed in the indictment, mail fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identify theft.

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