Police & Fire

Owner of short-lived Arkadelphia insurance agency faces multiple counts of fraud

Post updated 2/21/23

Felony charges have been filed against an Arkadelphia insurance agent who investigators say forged letters of experience for customers from other agencies.

A letter of experience is a document which insurance customers, when shopping for quotes, can request from an agency that previously insured them. The documents prove the customer’s record with the former company and act as a sort of reference letter for the new company.

Ishrael L. Wordlaw-Coleman, 34, is charged with eight counts of second-degree forgery in Clark County Circuit Court. He was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on Tuesday, Feb. 21, after turning himself in.

From early 2021 until fall 2022 Wordlaw operated a Farmers Insurance agency on 7th Street in downtown Arkadelphia. His company, Wordlaw Insurance Agency Inc., had been registered with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office since May 2021; its status as a registered corporation has since been revoked.

According to court documents, between February 2021 and January 2022, Wordlaw submitted eight falsified documents to Farmers Insurance providing proof of prior insurance to qualify customers for lower premiums on their auto policies.

An investigation revealed that Wordlaw allegedly submitted the falsified documents on seven separate occasions to three different insurance agencies. Woods also determined that eight of the nine letters of experience were falsified, with one being used as a template.

One of the allegedly falsified documents was submitted in support of his personal auto policy, “and he admitted to altering and submitting the document,” said Justin Woods of the Arkansas Insurance Department’s criminal investigation division.

Clark County Prosecutor Dan Turner filed the criminal information Tuesday, recommending a $10,000 bond upon Wordlaw’s arrest. Turner said he will likely appoint Dan Weber of the state Insurance Department as special prosecutor for the case.

Second-degree forgery is a Class C felony. If convicted, each count is punishable by three to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

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