Contact: Steve Holmes
(334) 241-4166


Investigating officers from the Alabama Department ofInsurance Fire Marshal and Fraud Divisions have announced the arrests of foursuspects for allegedly staging structure fires, automobile accidents, vandalism,and personal injury “accidents” in order to receive fraudulent monetary claimsfrom insurance companies.

Alabama State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk, and local DeputyMarshal Roderick Reed say evidence has indicated this “fraud operation” hadbeen going on for up to fifteen years with allegedly fraudulent insuranceclaims totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Arrest warrants were served on the four family members beginningearly this month and culminating last Wednesday, January 20 for charges ofInsurance Fraud First Degree. Arrested were Lawanda Thomas, 52, of PentecostalChurch Road in Mt. Vernon, her two sons, Clarence Lavell Roberts, Jr, 32, ofPeter Adams Road in McIntosh, Defonta Roberts 26, of St. Stephens Road in EightMile, and Defonte Roberts’ sister in law, Danielle Miller, 34 of Timberland Satsuma. 

Three of the four turned themselves into Mobile Metro Jailand were released on bonds ranging from $3,000 to $7500.  Defonta Roberts was located and served hisarrest warrant while serving time in Fountain Correctional Center for unrelatedBurglary charges.

Trial dates for the four have not been set pending GrandJury.

Marshal Paulk and Deputy Marshal Reed both say more arrestsare expected in this broad reaching investigation in Southwest Alabama andthey’re asking for the public’s help. The Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Officeand your local firefighters want you to know that if you think you might havecontributing information for any suspicious fire or Insurance Fraud case, youmay contact the ALABAMA ARSON HOTLINE at 1-800-654-0775 or you may visit  for more information.

 “Arson and InsuranceFraud are dangerous, expensive crimes which cost all citizens and should bestopped and punished,” Marshal Paulk emphasizes.  We all are forced to pay more for ourinsurance because of such crimes and so “we all must help put a stop to it.”