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Suspect Arrested, Charged in Insurance Fraud Scheme

May 7, 2007 - A suspect has been arrested and charged in an insurance fraud scheme targeting numerous Houston police officers and City of Houston employees.

Shiela H. Cunningham (b/f, DOB 9-2-57) is charged with felony misapplication of fiduciary funds in the 180th State District Court.

Investigators in the HPD Financial Crimes Unit, with assistance from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Special Crimes Bureau, developed information that Cunningham was stealing money in her role as operator of the Samuel L. Harris Insurance Agency.

The Harris Insurance Agency has payroll deduction privileges with the City of Houston. Investigators were told Cunningham had been taking monthly insurance premiums the city paid to her through payroll deductions on individual officers and city employees’ insurance policies. She failed to pay her own insurance agency for the policies; including accident, disability and life.

Following a comprehensive investigation, HPD investigators arrested Cunningham without incident on May 2 at her insurance agency at 5922 Martin Luther King Boulevard. Cunningham confessed her role in the fraud scheme, stating she had been depositing City of Houston checks paid to her through payroll deduction intended to pay premiums on insurance policies sold through the Harris Agency.

The investigation is continuing. No other arrests are expected at this time and investigators believe Cunningham was acting alone in the scheme.

JFC/NJM 5-7-07
Inc #059988607

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.