Archived Story

Deputy accused of insurance fraud

Published 11:36am Friday, June 7, 2013

A Cass County deputy sheriff has been charged with insurance fraud and evidence tampering for staging a fictitious car-deer accident.


Steven Thomas Keene, 48, of Rudy Road, Dowagiac, has been with the department for 25 years, for which he was honored Feb. 7 by the Board of Commissioners.


He was hired Oct. 27, 1987, as a road deputy from the Cassopolis Police Department.


At present he is suspended after posting a $10,000 bond.


His appearance in Fourth District Court Wednesday was adjourned until June 19.


The case is being presented by a special prosecutor from Kalamazoo County.


Sheriff Joseph Underwood said he was awaiting copies of the state police investigation so his office can conduct its own internal investigation.


Count one, insurance fraud — conspiracies, alleges Keene entered an agreement or conspired to defraud an automobile insurance carrier/company by staging a fictitious car-deer accident and/or writing a false traffic crash report.


The felony is punishable by 10 years in prison and/or $50,000, plus restitution.


Count two, insurance — fraudulent acts, accuses Keene of preparing an oral or written statement knowing or believing it would be presented by or to an insurer or an agent of an insurer, knowing it contained false information concerning a fact material to an insurance claim, and did so intending to injure, defraud or deceive.


Count two is punishable by four years and/or $50,000, plus restitution.


The first two counts stem from February-March 2013 in Silver Creek, where Keene worked part-time as a township police officer.


He is also charged with tampering with evidence March 14 and obstruction of justice Feb. 5 in Dowagiac.


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