Smith Center Woman Convicted of Insurance Fraud, Related Charges

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SMITH CENTER – (February 5, 2020) – A Smith Center woman has been convicted of insurance fraud and related charges, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Trisha A. Wiehl, 40, was found guilty today in Smith County District Court of one count of insurance fraud, four counts of theft, 35 counts of making false information, eight counts of insurance agent or broker failing to pay premium to company, six counts of forgery, and three counts of false impersonation. The case stemmed from an investigation by the Kansas Insurance Department and the attorney general’s Fraud and Abuse Litigation Division, which discovered that between May 2016 and August 2018, Wiehl committed numerous crimes related to her work as an insurance agent, including:

  • Filing fraudulent and false insurance claims against her customers’ insurance policies and keeping the insurance payment for herself. The total amount of insurance payments Wiehl received through these claims was over $100,000.
  • Receiving payment of insurance premiums from customers, including the Smith County Fair Board, keeping the money for herself, and never obtaining an insurance policy for the customers.
  • Receiving payment of insurance premiums from customers, including the city of Smith Center and a local business, and keeping this money for herself rather than submitting the payments to the insurance companies.
  • Forging signatures, including the signature of the Smith Center City Clerk, to take out loans in the names of her customers and using those loan proceeds to pay their insurance premiums.

Chief Judge Preston Pratt, following a bench trial, today convicted Wiehl and ordered her to pay a $3,000 fine and serve 36 months probation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Paul Brothers of Schmidt’s office.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.