Erwin man indicted following joint investigation

Published 4:24 pm Thursday, September 17, 2020

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According to Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal, a Unicoi County man has been charged following a joint investigation. 
Don F. Tilson, 72, 310 Cross St., Erwin, turned himself in to authorities Wednesday after being indicted for an insurance fraud scheme.
 The investigation began in Washington County back in May after Tilson was discovered to have sold a vehicle to Davis Recycling in Johnson City. Days later, Tilson reported the same vehicle stolen in Buncombe County, N.C., claiming that it had been stolen while it was broke down along Interstate 40. Investigators then discovered that Tilson had initiated an insurance claim in Unicoi County on this vehicle through his Farm Bureau insurance company and later provided false sworn statements under oath regarding the disappearance of this vehicle. As a result, Tilson was indicted by grand juries in both Unicoi and Washington counties and is now in custody of the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Office.
 Tilson is charged in Unicoi County with one count of insurance fraud and one count of perjury and is being held there on a $5,000 bond. He will be arraigned in Unicoi County Criminal Court at its next term. In Washington County, Tilson is charged with one count of hindering a secured creditor, which relates to him having sold/scrapped the vehicle to Davis Recycling while it was under a lien. Tilson will be transferred to the Washington County Detention Center upon his release from Unicoi County and will be held on a $3,000 bond.
 This investigation was a joint effort between officers of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office CID Division and Criminal Investigators of the District Attorney’s Office of the First Judicial District.

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