Georgia Department of Law, from the office of Thurbert E. Baker, Attorney General



June 12, 2000

Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced that a major insurance fraud indictment was unsealed in DeKalb County late last week, and that search and arrest warrants were executed. Assistant Attorney General Cassandra J. Schansman is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Georgia Department of Insurance.

The forty count indictment includes charges against Morris Bell and Felicia Bone Bell of 1632 Fieldgreen Overlook in Stone Mountain, James Louis Bell and Elizabeth L. Bell of 890 Kent Court in Lithonia and Melody Bell Moore of 449 Barbashela Drive in Stone Mountain. The defendants may have stolen as much as $1.8 million.

All of the defendants are charged with one count of RICO, three counts of theft by taking and two counts of theft by receiving stolen property. In addition to these charges, each defendant was charged as follows:

Morris Bell: 2 counts of Evasion of Income Tax

Felicia Bell Bone: 2 counts of Evasion of Income Tax

James Louis Bell: 10 counts of Insurance Fraud 1 count of Computer Theft 2 counts of Evasion of Income Tax

Elizabeth L. Bell: 2 counts of Evasion of Income Tax 2 counts of False Statement

Melody Bell Moore: 10 counts of Insurance Fraud 2 counts of Evasion of Income Tax 1 count of False Statement

The defendants are accused of using a pattern of racketeering activity between April 1, 1997 and May 31, 2000 to steal money from Cotton States Insurance Company and GAB-Robbins North America, Inc. (GAB), also an insurance company. Cotton States employed James Louis Bell as a claims examiner and GAB employed Melody Bell Moore as a claims examiner. James Louis Bell and Melody Bell Moore would submit fraudulent claims to their respective employers in the names of legitimate claimants and have checks made payable by the insurance companies to real or fictitious claimants, attorneys or businesses. James Louis Bell and Melody Bell Moore, as well as the other defendants, are charged with deposited these checks into checking accounts set up to receive them, using the funds for their personal benefit and evading the payment of state income tax on the proceeds of the scheme.

“As Attorney General, I will vigorously prosecute people who engage in this type of serious criminal activity,” Baker said. “These charges allege criminal conduct that has many victims, including the customers of insurance companies who pay for fraud through rising rates,” he continued.

If convicted on all charges, Morris Bell and Felicia Bell Bone each face up to 80 years in prison, James Louis Bell faces up to 190 years in prison, Elizabeth L. Bell faces up to 90 years in prison and Melody Bell Moore faces up to 185 years in prison.