Edgard couple charged with insurance fraud

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 9, 2011



LAPLCE – A St. John the Baptist Parish juvenile probation officer and his wife, a supervisor with the parish Clerk of Court’s office, were arrested by State Police Tuesday and accused of insurance fraud and filing false documents for trying to collect an $11,000 insurance claim after falsely reporting their SUV stolen.

The claim was never paid out because the insurance company conducted its own investigation after the vehicle was discovered in the yard of an Edgard towing company in December, said State Police spokeswoman Melissa Matey.

According to a release from State Police, Ronnie Feist, 45, and his wife Felicia C. Feist, 41, filed a false report to the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office that their 2006 Ford Explorer was stolen Dec. 24, 2006.

On Dec. 28, 2006, four days after the report was filed, a state trooper was able to locate the vehicle in the rear yard at Westside 66 Towing. Matey said the trooper picked up the vehicle’s LO-JACK signal, which is a small radio frequency transceiver hidden within the vehicle. When the system is activated, the transceiver sends an inaudible signal that is automatically traced in police units equipped with the system.

Matey said when the trooper reported to the insurance company the vehicle was found, the insurance company forged its own investigation and stopped the claim process.

The State Police investigation revealed before the vehicle was reported stolen, the couple had the vehicle towed from a LaPlace dealership after learning the vehicle’s engine needed replacing. The owner of the tow yard did not know the vehicle had been reported stolen and fully cooperated with the investigation.

Matey said Felicia Feist was arrested by state police at the Clerk of Court’s office in Edgard. She said Ronnie Feist was arrested at the St. John Sheriff’s Office after he was called in for questioning.

Both were released Wednesday after posting bond.

Felicia Feist, who is a chief deputy in the St. John the Baptist Parish Clerk of Court’s Office and works as the mortgage records supervisor, was suspended without pay from her position.

Ronnie Feist, who was also suspended, is a juvenile probation officer for St. John Parish District Court.