Crime

Tree trimming business said it had liability insurance. Grand jury says otherwise.

Scott Walker
Scott Walker

An indictment alleges a business owner and two employees of a tree-trimming business committed fraud by using a using a false document that claimed they had liability insurance.

Scott Walker, owner of Walker’s Tree Service, is charged in a four-count indictment, along with Michelle Renee Diaz and Monnie Villareal. All three are from Moss Point, though Walker has dual residency in Hitchcock, Texas, Attorney General Jim Hood said in a news release.

They used a false certificate of insurance saying they were insured by South Group Insurance-Gulf Coast, but the insurance company was not being paid, the indictment said.

The indictment names one victim and indicates there were others.

Lucille Meadows, for instance, had trees trimmed and cut on her property in October 2016, but had no protection if her property had been destroyed or someone had been injured, the document said. Walker’s Tree Service allegedly made a profit of more than $500 on her property alone by having no insurance.

It’s unclear if there were any damages or injuries on her property.

All three are each charged with insurance fraud, false pretense and two counts of conspiracy. The charges carry maximum penalties of 23 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Hood said the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department arrested Diaz, 44, and Villarreal, 46, in Pascagoula on Aug. 8. Moss Point police arrested Walker, 47, on Aug. 17.

Michael Stevens with the attorney general’s Insurance Integrity Enforcement Bureau investigated the case. Special Assistant Attorney General Steven Waldrup is the prosecutor.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

  Comments