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Insurance Forgery Alleged : Slain Boy’s Mother Suspected of Fraud

Times Staff Writer

A mother accused of helping to forge her teen-age son’s signature on an application for a $150,000 life insurance policy the day after he was slain was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of fraud.

Evelyn Jean Brinson, 36, of Santa Ana was held on suspicion of attempted grand theft, fraud and conspiracy. Also suspected in the case are two insurance agents who allegedly helped her.

Brinson’s son, Latoris Andre, 16, was accidentally shot to death by a friend April 23, 1988.

A day later, the suspects allegedly forged the dead youth’s name to an application for insurance with Northern Life Insurance, named the mother as the sole beneficiary and backdated the document to two days before the death.

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Also held in the case is Shontil Antoinette Lawrence, 35, an insurance agent who was arrested at her Santa Ana home Wednesday morning. An arrest warrant has been issued for Jesse Lewis Hunter, who is at large. Brinson surrendered Wednesday to police in Santa Ana.

“It appears that all three participated equally in this,” said Ronald E. Warthen, chief fraud investigator for the California Department of Insurance. “We had two insurance agents and a mother with a deceased son who turned out to be the catalyst for this.”

Suspected of Enlisting Help of Roommate

Brinson and her friend, Lawrence, are suspected of concocting the plan and enlisting the help of Hunter, Lawrence’s roommate, who prepared an insurance policy application.

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The policy named Brinson as sole beneficiary and was filed with Seattle’s Northern Life Insurance, a company that employs Hunter as an agent.

Two days after the youth’s death, Lawrence notified Northern Life that Latoris Brinson was dead. She then requested a claim for the money on behalf of Evelyn Brinson.

Northern Life officials called investigators, because the application was just two days old. A handwriting analyst later found that the boy’s signature had been forged. Investigators then questioned Brinson and Hunter about the forgery.

“The mother admitted to everything,” Warthen said.

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Brinson and Lawrence are being held on suspicion of insurance fraud, attempted grand theft and conspiracy, charges that could bring a sentence of up to 10 years.


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