A Columbus roofing contractor has been charged with intentionally vandalizing the roofs of two homes in Muscogee County, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said in a release Friday.
Mark Phillip Zuckerman, 58, of 4201 Weems Road, was taken into custody Thursday on two counts of insurance fraud, one count of second-degree criminal damage to property and held in the Muscogee County Jail on bonds totaling $13,000. No hearing date has been set for Zuckerman, officials said.
David Gonzalez, the operator of America’s Roofing and employer of Zuckerman, is wanted on the same charges, Hudgens said.
“Anyone who tries to create a fraudulent claim in Georgia will be arrested,” he said. “This type of fraud can drive up insurance premiums resulting in higher costs for all consumers.”
In an investigation dating back to February, investigators said Gonzalez solicited his roofing inspection services to homeowners in Columbus and Midland to help determine whether recent weather had caused damage to roofs. While on the roofs, Gonzalez and Zuckerman are accused of vandalizing shingles and other material to mimic wind damage. There is video surveillance of the suspects creating the destruction valued at $18,000 in damage, the commissioner said.
Hudgens recognized the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office for assisting in the investigation. Insurance fraud is a felony with a prison sentence of two to 10 years upon conviction and a fine up to $10,000.
Anyone with information on the location of David Gonzalez should contact the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office at 706-653-4225.
The Fraud Division of the Georgia Department of Insurance investigates various forms of fraud in insurance, including health, life, auto and property insurance. Call the Department’s Fraud Hotline at 1-800-656-2298 if you have information about this case or another possible fraud scheme.