VERSAILLES, Indiana — It was all a bunch of hot air.
Police in Indiana say a former sheriff’s deputy has been charged with an elaborate insurance fraud scheme in which he repeatedly claimed tanks of oxygen had been stolen from his home.
James Gholson, 35, managed to rake in over $250,000 in the scam in which he allegedly used forged police report forms to make claims about the purported robberies, detectives said.
During the time of the scam, Gholson served as a reserve deputy with the Jennings County Sheriff’s Office, and later a full-time deputy. He resigned in June 2020 when the investigation began. He was arrested after a six-month probe.
The Indiana State Police say Gholson had a side business operating an oxygen supply company from his home in Elizabethtown. In 2018 and 2019 he made several claims with his business and homeowner’s insurance companies claiming thousands of dollars of equipment had been stolen.
In one claim, he was paid over $100,000 by one company and over $87,000 by another. In another claim, he received a $56,000 payout from one company and $10,000 from another, cops said.
Investigators later determined that he used false invoices showing that he possessed the equipment he claimed had been stolen, and a false police report showing that he had reported the theft to the Jennings County Sheriff’s Office.
The scam began to unravel in November 2019, when he tried to file a claim that he had a trailer with two mowers stolen from his property, providing a false invoice showing he had purchased the equipment and a fraudulent police report from the Jennings County Sheriff’s Office.
The insurance company grew suspicious and began investigating, ultimately denying the claim. They then passed the info on to Indiana authorities.
He was arrested on Monday and charged with insurance fraud, official misconduct and forgery.