AEP sues company, others for embezzlement, fraud

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 20, 2010

WINFIELD -- American Electric Power Service Corporation and Appalachian Power Company are suing Tri-State Service Solutions for embezzlement and fraud.

Deborah Farmer, Carl Farmer and ten John Does were also named as defendants in the suit.

Deborah Farmer worked in AEP's risk management unit in St. Albans and was responsible for receiving and adjusting claims from the public of alleged real and personal property damage for which AEP might be liable, according to a complaint filed April 9 in Putnam Circuit Court.

Deborah Farmer was to investigate the claims, gather receipts and other information supporting or relating to the claims, adjusting them appropriately and deciding whether AEP would pay or deny the claims, according to the suit, and if she decided AEP would pay a claim, she would have the accounting system generate a check for the adjusted amount.

AEP claims Deborah Farmer began to create false property damage and other claims against AEP beginning in 2009 and with the assistance of one or more John Does, created the sham appraisal company Tri-State Service Solutions.

In March 2010, while Deborah Farmer was on leave from work, AEP discovered discrepancies in her files and that many claim files were missing from her office, according to the suit, and on March 26, AEP confronted Deborah Farmer, who denied any wrongdoing.

AEP claims Deborah Farmer's employment was terminated.

AEP is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. The company is being represented by Bryan R. Cokeley and Christopher L. Slaughter.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Phillip Stowers.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 10-C-134

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