FARMINGTON — A Davis County Sheriff's Office dispatcher faces criminal charges after an internal investigation turned up evidence of alleged home warranty insurance fraud.
Charging documents filed by the Utah Attorney General's Office said Tanna Kae Dyer, 46, and another woman conspired in 2017 to open a home warranty account and then submitted a claim for an air conditioner that was broken before the insurance was purchased.
Dyer is charged with insurance fraud, a third-degree felony, and criminal conspiracy, a class A misdemeanor. She was issued a summons and has an Oct. 1 appearance scheduled in 2nd District Court. The charges were filed Aug. 22.
Dyer remains on duty, said Debra Alexander, Davis County human resources director.
The Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Division, which certifies law enforcement personnel to work in the state, has an open investigation involving Dyer, said Marissa Cote, spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Public Safety.
According to the indictment against Dyer, a sheriff's office internal investigator reported that during her conversations with other dispatchers, Dyer allegedly bragged that her Farmington home's air conditioning unit had been broken for months and she was able to purchase a home warranty program against which she made a claim for a new unit.
The fellow dispatchers told the investigator that Dyer boasted the warranty company she used, American Home Shield, failed to inspect the air conditioner before she bought the warranty. She argued with the insurer when, upon her claim that the air conditioner needed to be replaced, the company questioned when the unit failed.
One dispatcher said she knew Dyer’s air conditioner had been broken for months because she had been asking to borrow window fans.
A second dispatcher reported that Dyer commented, “... it’s kinda illegal and I shouldn’t say anything.” She said Dyer insisted to the warranty company it could not prove the air conditioner failed earlier. Then the insurer relented and paid $2,300 toward the replacement.
Dyer said she planned to do the same thing with her home's furnace, the indictment alleged.
The warranty went into effect on June 11, 2017, and one dispatcher told investigators Dyer had talked about the air conditioner being broken at least a month earlier.
Prosecutors provided a copy of a Facebook post from July 18, 2017, in which Dyer said, "After 2 ½ months without AC we finally got a brand new unit today. It is 78 right now and still dropping. 10 degrees makes such a HUGE difference ... I am so beyond grateful for some great friends who made it possible, they know who they are."
The indictment said Stephanie Neville Gonzales created the home warranty account as part of the alleged scheme and gave Dyer the credentials. Gonzales also faces fraud and conspiracy charges in the case.
The two women "are associated through common career connections and through common associates," the indictment said. It did not explain those relationships, and the Attorney General's Office did not respond to a request for more information.
Efforts to contact Joshua S. Ostler, listed in court records as Dyer's attorney, were not immediately successful Tuesday.
The Davis sheriff's office has been rocked by personnel and other controversies in the past few years, including sexual harassment cases in which several deputies were demoted or otherwise disciplined. A jail lieutenant was disciplined for bullying and roughing up jail personnel, and two more deputies' careers ended after they got DUIs in North Ogden.
County commissioners and the county auditor issued reports and memos condemning alleged time card fraud and violation of county spending policies. Meanwhile, Farmington police are investigating alleged misuse of funds in the sheriff's accounting office.
At least seven deaths in the Davis County Jail over a two-year period have sparked sheriff's office policy and training revisions and resulted in wrongful-death lawsuits in U.S. District Court.