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ECSO searching for accomplices in arson fraud

POSTED: September 27, 2012 8:21 p.m.
Photo courtesy of ECSO/

Above is the car belonging to Ruth Jaudon that Effingham Sheriff’s investigators believe was crashed and set on fire intentionally.

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One woman is in custody on charges of first-degree arson and insurance fraud after she allegedly conspired with two other people to crash her car, which then caught fire.

On Sept. 1, Effingham County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report that a car had crashed and was on fire at Atlantic Avenue in Guyton. The car was a total loss, according to Effingham County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor.

The driver and the passenger raised suspicions when they were interviewed on the scene, Ehsanipoor said. Jamarcus Smith, 18, and his mother, Tamika Smith, 36, both of Savannah, gave deputies conflicting stories on what led up to the crash.

“They couldn’t get their stories straight,” Ehsanipoor said.

The ECSO later determined that Ruth Jaudon, 51, of Guyton, conspired with the Smiths to total the car in order to collect insurance money. Investigators discovered Tamika Smith crashed the car into a tree and then Jamarcus Smith crashed it a second time, causing the vehicle to catch fire.

Deputies are asking for help in locating Jamarcus Smith and Tamika Smith. Both are facing charges of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, arson in the first degree and criminal damage to property.

Anyone with information on the Smiths’ whereabouts is asked to contact the ECSO at 754-3449.


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