Automobile Insurance Fraud Program
The Fraud Division is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for investigating automobile insurance fraud crimes and it coordinates enforcement operations with municipal, state, and federal law enforcement agencies throughout California. Completed investigations are filed with the local district attorney or the United States Attorney’s Office.
Fraud Division detectives enforce the provisions of California Penal Code sections 548-550. Detectives focus on categories such as medical mills, staged collision rings, false and fraudulent claims, and organized fraud activity and automobile theft groups. During Fiscal Year 2020-21, the Fraud Division received 15,112 suspected fraudulent claims (SFCs), assigned 532 new cases, made 201 arrests, and referred 317 cases to prosecuting authorities. The potential loss amounted to $215,383,939.
District Attorneys' Automobile Insurance Fraud Program
During Fiscal Year 2020-21, 34 counties received funding totaling $15,259,00 through the Department’s Auto Insurance Grant Program.
For Fiscal Year 2020-21, California district attorneys initiated 2,183 investigations and made 701 arrests. This number includes the Fraud Division’s enforcement actions and local law enforcement investigations. District attorneys prosecuted 1,378 cases involving 1,538 defendants with chargeable fraud totaling $19,270,955, which resulted in 452 convictions and $1,010,164 in restitution ordered by the courts.
Organized Automobile Fraud Activity Interdiction Program
The California State Legislature has determined that organized automobile fraud activity operating in major urban centers of the state represents a significant portion of all individual fraud-related automobile insurance cases. This fraudulent activity endangers the safety of the public and drives higher insurance premiums in certain urban and low-income areas of the state. The primary focus of the program is the investigation of organized criminal activity that occurs in urban areas and which often involves the staging of collisions and the filing of fraudulent accident or damage claims.
Staged collisions are often complex organized rings that range from “paper” collisions to actually targeting vehicles on streets and freeways to cause an accident for the purposes of collecting settlements from insurance carriers. Staged collisions are orchestrated by organized rings of criminals and involve the collision participants, stagers, cappers, attorneys, doctors, chiropractors, body shops and others. During fiscal year 2020-21, the Fraud Division assigned 144 new cases and made 149 arrests and 204 referrals to prosecuting authorities. Potential loss amounted to $3,897,845.
District Attorneys' Organized Automobile Fraud Activity Interdiction Program
During Fiscal Year 2020-21, 8 counties received funding totaling $7,192,000. The California district attorneys reported 272 investigations and 182 arrests, including Fraud Division arrests. The district attorneys prosecuted 200 cases involving 448 defendants with chargeable fraud totaling $24,213,533, which resulted in 70 convictions and $2,923,254 of restitution ordered.