Southeast Texas has a new team dedicated to fighting insurance fraud.
Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman and Harris County District Attorney Patricia Lykos announced that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office has a new insurance fraud prosecutor and investigator whose salaries are paid by TDI.
“We are being proactive and we’re seizing the initiative to go after insurance fraud that is costing our citizens hundreds of millions of dollars,” Lykos said. “It’s been an ever growing problem in Harris County, but it’s about to come to an end.”
The Texas Department of Insurance has had a similar working agreement with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office where a prosecutor and an investigator have been responsible for 250 convictions of insurance fraud that have resulted in restitution to victims totaling $7 million. Commissioner Kitzman is hoping for the same success in Harris County.
“We hope to send a message that we are going to prosecute these cases and seek the highest penalties possible, in restitution, fines and imprisonment. There will be no confidential settlements. This will be publicized. This is really not effective unless people know about it. That’s our goal,” Kitzman said.
Representatives from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Texas Committee on Insurance Fraud also spoke out in support of the new insurance fraud crackdown in Harris County.
Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the Texas Committee on Insurance Fraud said more district attorneys have asked TDI for these specialized prosecutors.
“A special insurance fraud prosecutor will be formally announced later this month for the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office and other major cities may follow,” said Hanna. “We applaud TDI steps in taking this statewide initiative.”
Texas Committee on Insurance Fraud is a group of concerned representatives of the insurance industry, state and county government, as well as Texas and national anti-fraud organizations who share a common goal in fighting insurance fraud.