Twelve Indicted on Federal Charges Related to Jefferson County Insurance Fraud
BEAUMONT, Texas – A federal grand jury returned a 40-count indictment on May 2, 2018, charging 12 individuals with federal violations related to an insurance fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.
According to the indictment, beginning in 2011, Patrick Wayne Bronnon, and others, began executing a scheme to defraud various insurance companies through fraudulent claims on homes and vehicles. The indictment alleges Bronnon, or co-defendant Glenn Etienne, would identify a low value property and purchase it through a co-defendant straw purchaser. On several occasions, Bronnon or Etienne would provide the straw purchaser with the funds for the down payment and initial insurance premium. Within a couple of weeks, Bronnon or an associate would intentionally damage the home, typically by fire or water, in order to collect insurance proceeds. In total, nine fraudulent fire claims, three fraudulent water damage claims, and two fraudulent theft claims were filed with various insurance companies on nine different addresses, totaling approximately $1.7 million in fraudulent payments. The properties were located in Port Arthur, Port Neches, Beaumont, and Sugarland, Texas. Those charged in the indictment are:
Patrick Wayne Bronnon, 49, of Groves, Texas;
Glenn Dell Etienne, 50, of Groves;
Geraldine Weldon Joseph, 67, of Port Arthur;
Morris Broussard, 51, of Houston;
Keisha Windon Lewis, 44, of Port Arthur;
Helene Williams Calcote, 41, of Groves;
Cynthia Lynn Banion, 45, of Houston;
Earnest Hamilton, 79, of Richmond;
Nathaniel Joseph Chevalier, 40, of Nederland;
Rodric Ledae Wallace, 49, of Nederland; and
Riley Moss Reed, 63, of Port Arthur
Under federal statutes, if convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, National Insurance Crime Bureau and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher T. Tortorice.
A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.