Steven Eric Chastain, 58, of Canton, was arrested Friday by state insurance investigators who allege he committed insurance fraud in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

Special agents with the Criminal Investigations Division of the Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office arrested Chastain, who was wanted for two counts of theft by conversion for events that occurred in Dougherty County following Hurricane Michael. Chastain is currently being held in the Fulton County Jail awaiting a bond hearing.

According to a news release from the Georgia Department of Insurance, Chastain, owner of Nationwide Public Adjusters, was hired by the owner of an Albany-based business that suffered significant damage in October 2018 as a result of Hurricane Michael to handle his claim. Throughout the course of handling this claim, Chastain is accused of taking multiple checks totaling approximately $217,000 from the insurance company without sending them to his client.

“This man is accused of taking complete advantage of his client in a time when they desperately needed someone to rely on. These types of acts will not be tolerated in this state,” Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King said. “I am very proud of my investigators who put many hours into this case, and I would like to thank the Atlanta Police Department for helping us transport this individual. We expect additional charges to be brought forth against him as well.”

A felony theft by conversion charge is punishable by imprisonment for one to 10 years.

To report suspected insurance fraud, contact the Georgia Department of Insurance at 1-800-656-2298. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.

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