SLED: Woman filed false insurance claims, stole grandmother’s ID to fraudulently purchase vehicles in Florence

Pee Dee Crime

FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Two Darlington women were arrested after SLED said they stole one woman’s grandmother’s information to fraudulently purchase vehicles in Florence County.

According to SLED, Marae Antoinette Kennedy, 26, of Darlington, co-conspired with Sonja Denise Hickman, 43, of Darlington, to use financial information of Kennedy’s 85-year-old grandmother to purchase vehicles in Florence County in 2019.

Kennedy and Hickman purchased a 2019 Kia Forte from Car Town Kia in September 2019 using Kennedy’s grandmother’s information without her consent, according to SLED. The agency said Kennedy helped Hickman get a South Carolina Identification Card in Kennedy’s grandmother’s name with Hickman’s picture.

Kennedy is also accused of applying for a South Carolina vehicle title in her grandmother’s name, according to arrest warrants.

On Oct. 3, SLED said Kennedy was involved in a crash in the area of Second Loop Road and S. Cashua Drive in Florence County with the vehicle that was fraudulently purchased. When she handed police her license, it scanned as “Ashleigh Scipio,” according to arrest warrants.

When the insurance claim was filed with Allstate, Kennedy posed as Crystal Brown, which is not a real person, which is the name she also used when getting the insurance policy, according to arrest warrants. The car was considered a total loss.

It was discovered that between July and August 2019, Kennedy filed 14 fraudulent insurance claims for crashes that never happened with vehicles she never owned, in places in some cases that didn’t exist, according to arrest warrants.

Warrants state Kennedy used her personal cell phone number, email, iCloud account, and address to make the fraudulent claims. Kennedy is estimated to have received nearly $6,800 in property damage payments and rental expenses, according to the warrants.

On Oct. 4, one day after the crash, Kennedy and Hickman bought another Kia Forte at Car Town Kia using Kennedy’s grandmother’s information, according to arrest warrants.

Kennedy and Hickman were both arrested Wednesday and booked into the Florence County Detention Center.

Kennedy is charged with two counts of presenting false claim for insurance payment, two counts of altering, forging, or counterfeiting title, registration card, or license plate, two counts of financial ID fraud, and other related charges.

Kennedy was transferred to another facility on Friday.

Hickman is charged with two counts of financial ID fraud and other related charges. Hickman was released from jail Thursday on a $2,500 surety bond, according to booking records.

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