A Pine Bluff police officer was arrested on charges of insurance fraud and has bailed out of the Jefferson County jail, according to authorities.
Jefferson County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Will Jones confirmed Tuesday that charges were filed against Sydney Dowd, 27, after prosecutors received a file from investigators with the Arkansas Insurance Department. Dowd is facing one count of insurance fraud and another count of filing a false report with a law enforcement agency, both Class D felonies, after a flood damaged her Pine Bluff apartment. Each felony carries a sentence of up to six years if she is convicted.
According to an affidavit by investigator James Kulesa, on April 9, Dowd's unit at an apartment complex on McConnell Circle sustained damage from a flood that began in another unit. On April 10, the manager reportedly wanted to gain access to Dowd's unit to look for water damage and eventually informed of the damage.
At 12:45 p.m., 40 minutes after being notified, Dowd allegedly started a renters insurance policy with Allstate Insurance with personal property limits of $50,000. She allegedly filed a claim with Allstate under that policy on April 12, claiming the water damage occurred at 1:30 a.m. April 11. Investigators say she filed a police report claiming water damage that same day.
"A representative took a recorded telephone statement from Dowd on April 13, at which time, Dowd again stated that the loss occurred at 1:30 a.m. on Monday, April 11," Kulesa wrote in the affidavit. "Dowd stated that several items in the apartment were damaged. Dowd gave a false date of loss, knowing that damage had occurred to her apartment before she took out her renters policy. The claim was denied and the victim is not owed restitution."
Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Hunter filed charges against Dowd on July 22, and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest. She was booked into the Dub Brassell Detention Center at 2:24 p.m. Monday and released one minute later on $5,000 bail.
Dowd is scheduled to appear in circuit court Sept. 12.
Pine Bluff Police Chief Denise Richardson has yet to decide whether Dowd will be terminated, according to a police spokesperson.