October 17. 2013 8:57PM

Auburn resident pleads guilty to insurance fraud

BRENTWOOD — An Auburn resident pleaded guilty to insurance fraud for filing an $8,000 claim for an accident that happened before the policy was in effect.

Sharon Rolfe pleaded guilty Tuesday in Rockingham County Superior Court for filing the fraudulent claim for an accident that happened two days before she purchased a Progressive insurance policy.

She pleaded guilty to one count of felony insurance fraud and was sentenced to 12 months in the county jail, deferred for one year with a conditional discharge in three years upon good behavior. She also was fined $2,000 with $500 due immediately and $1,500 suspended for two years.

According to a news release issued by New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph A. Foster and N.H. Insurance Commissioner Roger A. Sevigny, on May 29, 2012, Rolfe called her insurance agent asking for quotes to add her son to her automobile policy. During the call, she was told her auto policy lapsed on Oct. 6, 2011, and she requested quotes for a new policy.

She bought a policy with Progressive on May 30, 2012. Two days later, she called Progressive to report that on May 31, 2012, she damaged her car when she struck a rock after swerving to avoid an animal in the road. The damage claim totaled about $8,000.

An investigation by Progressive and the N.H. Insurance Department determined Rolfe was involved in a car accident on May 29, 2012, at a time when she had no insurance.

This form of insurance fraud is called "past posting insurance," according to Foster and Sevigny.

The crime is committed when an uninsured driver is involved in an accident, purchases insurance and then, like Rolfe, falsely reports the accident happened after the insurance policy was in effect.