GRANT CITY, Mo. — Melinda P. Coleman, of Albany, Missouri, faces charges of forgery and insurance fraud for doctoring an old bill and providing it to an insurance company, investigators said.
Coleman, 57, is charged with two counts of felony forgery and two counts of felony commission of a fraudulent insurance act.
The charges stem from a 2016 incident in which two Albany veterinary clinics owned by Coleman suffered fire damage.
According to a probable cause statement filed by the insurance company, Coleman told The Hartford Financial Services that her veterinary clinics had sustained fire damage on March 8, 2016.
After an investigation, the company determined the damage actually took place five days later, on March 13.
Investigators said that after the fire damage, Coleman sent a document to The Hartford Financial Services that she claimed was the final electric bill received by her clinics.
The insurance investigator claimed the document “was obviously altered.”
Later, the company said it received a hand-written envelope purporting to be from United Electric Cooperative containing a summary of billing periods and service dates for the clinics. Coleman reportedly told the insurance company that she had given the self-addressed and stamped envelope to United Electric Cooperative to send to the insurance company.
Insurance investigators said that a United Electric Cooperative official confirmed that the company did not send the envelope, had not spoken with Coleman and had not provided electricity to her since December 2013. An earlier bill of Coleman’s issued by United Electric was for the same amount as the one provided to The Hartford, but for a different location and for different services, investigators said.
Coleman was charged in July in Gentry County and posted her bond immediately.
On Jan. 10, the judge granted Coleman’s motion for a change of venue to Worth County, and set a jury trial for May 10 and 13.