Call it a dramatic sweep that gets the point across, if you're committing insurance fraud in the State of California, California Department of Insurance detectives will come knocking.
During the first week of November, detectives slapped handcuffs on nearly 200 suspects accused of auto insurance fraud. The detectives teamed up with local district attorneys and law enforcement officers to serve arrest warrants in 22 counties. As a result, 195 people are now charged with auto insurance fraud. The fraud was committed against 40 insurance companies to the tune of more than $1 million.
"Our California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members who are CDI detectives are on the move, they have to be, given the incredible amount of insurance fraud being committed in the State of California," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona.
How were these suspects scamming insurance companies? In most cases, they were uninsured or underinsured and allegedly purchased or added coverage after they were involved in a collision or damage occurred to their vehicles. The suspects then filed fraudulent claims to get the insurer to cover the damage to the uninsured or underinsured vehicle.
Who are these suspects? Two are insurance professionals, including a claims adjuster. One suspect's vehicle was involved a pedestrian fatality. One suspect submitted a claim for a vehicle allegedly used to transport drugs from Mexico. In some cases the fraud was uncovered before the insurer paid on the claim, in others it was discovered after the claims were paid.
Insurance company special investigation units and the National Insurance Crime Bureau assisted with the investigations. Local district attorneys are prosecuting these cases.
Alameda County - 22 suspects; 22 felony counts
Amador - 1 suspect; 2 felony counts
Contra Costa County - 7 suspects; 7 felony counts
El Dorado County - 3 suspects; 1 felony count 2 misdemeanors
Fresno County -9 suspects; 9 felony counts
Kern County -3 suspects; 3 felony counts
Kings County -3 suspects; 3 felony counts
Los Angeles County - 27 suspects; 27 felony counts
Orange County - 16 suspects;16 felony counts 21 misdemeanors
Riverside -6 suspects; 6 felony counts
Sacramento - 10 suspects; 1 felony count 11 misdemeanors
San Bernardino - 11 suspects; 7 felony counts
San Diego County - 35 suspects; 84 felony counts
San Joaquin County - 6 suspects; 6 felony counts
San Francisco - 2 suspects; 2 felony counts
San Luis Obispo County - 1 case; one felony count
Santa Barbara County - 5 suspects; 5 felony counts
Santa Clara County - 18 suspects; 26 felony counts
Solano County - 1 suspect; 1 felony count
Stanislaus County - case pending
Tulare County -4 suspects; 3 felony counts
Ventura - 4 suspects;4 felony charges