MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Murfreesboro Police Dept. searched the offices of Rutherford Co. Mayor Bill Ketron’s insurance company, Universal International Insurance Inc., after his daughter, Kelsey Ketron, was ordered a cease and desist order from the Tennesee Insurance Division of the Tennessee Dept. of Commerce and Insurance for alleged insurance fraud and theft.
According to a civil complaint documents, Kelsey Ketron, who serves as the vice president of her father’s company, allowed her license with the division of insurance to expire on Feb. 16, 2012.
She is also accused of diverting money from a customers account to another company and then trying to replace the money when the woman attempted to file a claim with her homeowner’s policy.
The victim took out a policy with Universal International Insurance Inc., in 2015. The documents say Kelsey Ketron was the woman’s agent and primary contact for the policy.
On Sept. 8, 2018, Wells Fargo, the woman’s mortgage holder, contact Kelsey Ketron for information about the woman’s homeowner’s insurance policy before issuing an annual premium check of $1,608.12 for the upcoming year. At this time, the Tennessee Insurance Division says Ketron “intentionally misled Wells Fargo, stating that the police the bank had on file was no longer accurate.”
Court documents say Ketron gave the bank a different policy number, changed the name on the account from the woman’s name to Appalachian Underwriters, an unaffiliated insurance company based out of Oak Ridge, Tenn., but changed the address associated with the policy to the business address of her company, Universal International Insurance Inc.
Wells Fargo reportedly sent the check to Universal on Sept. 8, 2017, and Kelsey Ketron received and signed for the check on Sept. 12, 2017.
The alleged insurance fraud was discovered less than a year later when the victim’s home suffered water damage from a frozen pipe burst and she began the claims process and workers were sent to her home to conduct an inspection. Insurance officials say, at this point, Ketron “stopped providing updates on the claim and then ceased communications with [her] altogether.”
When communication ceased, insurance officials say the woman contact Wells Fargo, who then referred her to Appalachian. The company then notified the woman that they did not have any records of an insurance policy in her name. The woman also learned that the policy number given to Wells Fargo for her account had also been changed and was in a format that was inconsistent with any policies issued by that company.
At this time, the alleged victim filed a complaint with the Tennessee Insurance Division, who began investigating the claim.
The division filed an inquisitorial order in the matter, notifying Kelsey Ketron on July 23, 2018. On the very same day, officials say, she signed and mailed a check for $1,608.12 to Wells Fargo, which was the same amount originally paid out by the bank for the victim’s policy.
Insurance officials say the amount was credited to the victim’s escrow account. However, the woman’s balance still showed a negative amount of $1,891 because Wells Fargo had charged her for “forced place insurance,” a policy offered by banks or another loan service when a property owner’s policy is canceled, lapsed or is deemed insufficient to pay for a claim.
Because of her actions, the Tennessee Insurance Division determined Kelsey Ketron was found to be noncompliant with the insurance laws and regulations of the State of Tennessee for allowing her insurance license to lapse for nearly two years while continuing to conduct business in the industry; as well as “improperly withholding, misappropriating or converting any moneys or properties received in the course of doing insurance business;” and “using fraudulent, coercive, or dishonest practices, or demonstrating incompetence, untrustworthiness, or financial irresponsibility in the conduct of business.”
While the cease and desist order is only a civil complaint, Kelsey Ketron and others at the company may face criminal charges as a result of the search carried out by the Murfreesboro Police Dept. on Wednesday. According to reports, since the initial complaint was filed, multiple other police reports with similar allegations against Kelsey Ketron have been filed with MPD.
While the raid was being conducted, Mayor Bill Ketron told News 2 that the police also took out a warrant to search his daughter’s condo.
“I haven’t seen any impropriety,” Ketron said. “My attorney says that they don’t feel that there’s any impropriety at this point in time, so we’ll just see what comes out.”
Ketron, who says he is in full compliance with the police investigation, denied the allegations and said was not privy to any of the specifics about the case. He also told reporters that he did not know what police were looking for at his business.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 on-air and online for updates.