Detectives from the California Department of Insurance assisted by local district attorneys and local law enforcement spent the last week serving arrest warrants in 22 counties where more than 200 felony counts and multiple misdemeanor charges were filed against 195 people for alleged auto insurance fraud committed against 40 insurance companies.
In nearly all of the cases the drivers were uninsured or underinsured and allegedly purchased or added coverage after a collision or damage was sustained, then the suspects filed a fraudulent claim in an attempt to get the insurer to cover the damage to the uninsured vehicle, according to CDI.
Two suspects are insurance professionals, including a claims adjuster, another case involved a pedestrian fatality, one included a vehicle allegedly used to transport drugs from Mexico, and one investigation uncovered a staged collision, which is under further investigation.
In some cases the fraud was uncovered before the insurer paid on the claim, in others it was discovered after the claims were paid. Detectives suspect that the actual and potential losses to insurers totaled more than $1 million.
“Unfortunately, this type of insurance crime is surprisingly common,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement. “Insurance fraud is an expensive drain on the state’s economy that totals into the billions of dollars annually in California. This is not a victimless crime. The cost of these scams is passed along to consumers through higher rates and premiums-everyone pays for insurance fraud.”
Local district attorneys, insurance company special investigation units and the National Insurance Crime Bureau assisted with the investigations. Local district attorneys are prosecuting these cases.
Insurers involved with 10 more cases include:
- Nations Insurance
- Permanent General Assurance
- Financial Indemnity