Contra Costa County to Receive $1.3 Million in Grant Funds to Fight Insurance Fraud
News: 2012 Press Release
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, joined by Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark A. Peterson, today announced $1.3 million in grants to the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office to fight workers' compensation, automobile, and disability & health insurance fraud. These funds will assist the Contra Costa County District Attorney with the investigation and prosecution of fraud.
"I am pleased today to announce $1.3 million in grants to the Contra Costa District Attorney to fight workers' compensation and auto insurance fraud," said Commissioner Jones. "Workers' compensation insurance fraud places an extraordinary financial burden on our workers' comp system, hurts honest businesses and damages our economy. Auto insurance fraud drives up the price of auto insurance for consumers, and disability and health insurance fraud gouges workers and employers by way of higher premiums."
"Insurance fraud costs California's honest consumers and businesses approximately $15 billion per year," said District Attorney Mark A. Peterson. "The huge financial burden that insurance fraud imposes on the citizens of Contra Costa County through higher insurance premiums and the increased cost of goods and services is unacceptable. These grant funds and the enthusiastic assistance of the California Department of Insurance Fraud Division Investigators make it possible for our office to continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute all types of insurance fraud. I have also dedicated significant resources to public outreach and education to educate our community in an effort to prevent our citizens from being victimized in the first place. I would like to thank Commissioner Jones and the California Department of Insurance for their partnership in our efforts."
One of the top priorities of Insurance Commissioner Jones is to fight insurance fraud. The California Department of Insurance (CDI) investigates insurance fraud statewide and then works with the District Attorney of each County, who prosecutes the fraud. The Insurance Commissioner awards anti-fraud grants to assist the DA's effort to prosecute these types of fraud.
Contra Costa County was awarded four grants to combat fraud in 2013:
- $603,400 to fight Workers' Compensation Insurance Fraud
- $458,903 to combat Regular Automobile Insurance Fraud
- $273,667 to battle Urban (Organized) Automobile Insurance Fraud
- $20,000 to fight Disability and Health Insurance Fraud
"Contra Costa County has made great use of its effective fraud-fighting programs," said Commissioner Jones. "Grant funds were used most recently in the county during a large scale multi-agency investigation that my department participated in-and that ultimately brought to justice an organized automobile theft ring."
Last year, 20 co-conspirators of this large fraud ring were prosecuted as a result of indictments handed down by a Contra Costa County Grand Jury. This case was a result of a two-year investigation by CDI Fraud Division, along with investigators from the California Highway Patrol, Contra Costa County DA, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Together, the suspects were charged with more than 100 felony counts, 61 of those were filed against the ringleader, for auto insurance fraud, grand theft, burglary and conspiracy.
CDI announced the 2013 Workers' Compensation Insurance Fraud Grants in a press release in June.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.