Eric Stewart – Insurance Fraud and Ties to the Criminal Underground?

People in Winchester have two very interesting stories to tell about Eric Stewart when asked what they know about him. The first one that emerges in various forms is that Stewart failed to turn over insurance premiums that he collected, leaving customers to believe that they had insurance in force when in fact they had none. One lady says she had an auto policy in force, got in a wreck that was not her fault, then discovered that police reports had been altered later say she was at fault in an effort to cover up the fact that the insurance was not in force. Eric Stewart’s daddy is a big man around town.

One local insurance agent claims that Eric Stewart should be “under the jail” for all of the un-deposited premiums he collected but never put in force. Regardless, Eric Stewart claims to be a small businessman where he “balanced budgets”. Maybe he forgot to balance the budget line item that says you should pay your federal income taxes: He has owed over $25,000 on multiple occasions personally and in his business. During this same time, $22,000 went “missing” from his campaign account and no receipts could be found. Now that’s the kind of break a businessman likes to catch.

Fortunately, the insurance franchise was stripped from Eric once all of these financial shenanigans were discovered, but the insurance company wouldn’t go public because it would ruin their chances of selling insurance with another agent in that market under the same brand name. I don’t blame them. They stepped up to the plate to cover Eric’s malfeasance and kept policies discovered unfunded in force.

Another interesting nugget talked about around town has to do with a gentleman named Ben Elliot. He was involved in fraud, drugs, prostitution etc. on a nationwide scale. He is now in the “Big House” after being convicted of Federal crimes. During the time he was awaiting trial in Atlanta he started “ratting” on anyone and everyone he knew in an attempt to lessen his eventual sentence.

On February 3, 2009, Gary Steven Cline, 39, a member of the Coffee County Commission was arrested after he allegedly purchased cocaine from an undercover Tullahoma Police Officer. His case was eventually pled down to a lesser charge. On the night of Cline’s arrest Ben Elliott was wired and being used by a Tullahoma Detective in a sting operation.
At 9:00 pm that evening Elliott received a call from Eric Stewart. Ben was “so proud” of his relationship to State Senator Eric Stewart that he put the call on speaker so the Detective could listen and, I guess, admire Elliott for all the contacts he had.

The purpose of the call from Stewart to Elliott was to inform Elliott of Cline’s arrest and warn Elliott to be careful. Some folks have said that Elliot lived above or near Eric Stewart’s failed insurance agency.

When you hear the same stories over and over again with the same elements from different, unconnected sources, you begin to feel there is some merit there. Maybe some journalist with a little time on their hands might make take the time to see if any truth lies here.

If you have ever had insurance premiums that were paid but not in force from Eric Stewart, or know of any other stories you would like to share, feel free to call your local news reporter if there is any validity to these and other stories.

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