FARMINGTON — One law enforcement employee charged with home warranty fraud may avoid a criminal conviction, while charges against the second have been dropped.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office and an attorney for Tanna Kae Dyer signed a diversion agreement under which the charges against her will be dismissed if she complies with terms of the deal.
Dyer, 47, a Davis County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher, faced charges of insurance fraud, a third-degree felony, and criminal conspiracy, a class A misdemeanor.
The diversion agreement, filed in 2nd District Court on Monday, said Dyer has two years to pay a $2,300 fee, the amount allegedly lost by the insurance company.
The agreement is not a conviction or admission of guilt, and upon completion, the case will be wiped from her record.
In a companion case, also resolved Monday, the Attorney General’s Office dismissed identical charges against Stephanie Neville Gonzales, 41, who was a clerical employee of the Woods Cross Police Department.
In an Aug. 22, 2018, indictment, prosecutors alleged Dyer conspired in 2017 to open a home warranty account and then submit a claim for an air conditioner that was broken before the insurance was purchased.
A sheriff’s office internal investigator reported that during her conversations with other dispatchers, Dyer 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.
Gonzales created the home warranty account as part of the alleged scheme and gave Dyer the credentials, the indictment said.
Prosecutors agreed to divert the charges against Dyer because she had no criminal history, Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Cindy Reinhard said Thursday.
The case against Gonzales was dismissed because she cooperated with authorities, Reinhard said.
After the indictment, Gonzales resigned her Woods Cross job. Dyer remained on the sheriff’s office payroll, the county human resources office said.
INSURANCE FRAUD TRENDS
Diversion agreements are not uncommon for insurance fraud defendants who have no previous record, said Armand Glick, Utah Insurance Fraud Division director.
“The interesting thing about insurance fraud is that 70 percent of people have no criminal history and would never, ever think of committing a crime,” Glick said.
“People go down that pathway based on feelings that they deserve this, they are entitled to it,” he said. “They don’t consider it to be criminal like you would an outright theft.”
Glick said fraud reports and prosecutions have been up during the past two fiscal years. Common fraud types include false auto crash claims and medical billing schemes.