For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: February 16, 2010

Ben and Melody Gunn Sentenced for Insurance Fraud

(Boise) – Idaho Falls residents Benjamin A. Gunn and Melody J. Gunn were sentenced for insurance fraud, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. Seventh District Judge Jon Shindurling sentenced Ben Gunn to ten years in prison with one year fixed. The Court suspended the prison sentence but ordered Mr. Gunn to pay a $5,000 fine, serve eight years of probation and perform 100 hours of community service.

Melody Gunn was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, placed on probation for six years and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. The Court instructed Mrs. Gunn that she could not seek future employment in the insurance industry.

Ben Gunn, 41, and Melody Gunn, 39, both pleaded guilty on December 17, 2009, to conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. They were sentenced on February 11, 2010.

A confidential informant contacted the Idaho State Police with information that the Gunns intended to hire someone to dispose of their 1968 Chevrolet Camaro so they could claim the vehicle had been stolen and collect the insurance money. After meeting with an Idaho State Police detective, the informant told Ben Gunn that if he was serious about disposing of the car, that he had a friend who could take care of the matter. Gunn told the informant to have his friend call him on a cell phone number Gunn had supplied to the informant. Mr. Gunn contacted the undercover detective in July of 2009.

After several phone calls with the detective, the Gunns met him in a parking lot of a restaurant in Ammon, Idaho, on August 11, 2009. Ben Gunn paid the detective $100 and placed another $100 in the center console of the Camaro. Ben Gunn told the detective that he didn’t want to see the vehicle again and allowed the detective to leave with the car.

The Gunns had offered the vehicle for sale in the preceding months for $15,000. Melody Gunn, a licensed insurance agent employed at the time by Alpine Insurance, wrote the policy over-insuring the car in the amount of $22,500. After giving the car to the undercover detective, the Gunns filed a stolen vehicle report with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office stating the vehicle’s value at $25,000. Several days later, the Gunns submitted false statements and claims to Alpine Insurance.

Melody Gunn’s insurance agent license had previously been revoked by the Idaho Department of Insurance.

The case was investigated by the Idaho State Police and the Idaho Department of Insurance, Special Investigations Unit. The Special Prosecutions Unit of the Attorney General’s Criminal Law Division prosecuted the case. Deputy Attorney General Kenneth Robins prosecuted the case.

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