While violent crime often captivates the public’s attention and is the subject of much of the news and entertainment consumed in the U.S., white-collar crimes, like insurance fraud, don’t always get the same strong negative reaction. Insurance schemes can be complicated and messy and insurance companies don’t look like the victims on your TV. The average insurance consumer may not realize that they are paying increased premiums to cover the at least $80 billion stolen each year due to insurance fraud.
Whether it is falsifying the details of an accident, committing arson for profit, submitting false lost wages or medical bills, or any of the many other types of fraudulent tactics, committing insurance fraud is a crime and it can land perpetrators in serious trouble.
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) at Maryland Auto is dedicated to identifying and investigating potentially fraudulent claims. And the individuals involved in submitting fraudulent claims are sometimes surprised by the scrutiny and the consequences they face.
“Jane Doe” and “Wilma Passenger” didn’t appreciate the gravity of the situation they were getting themselves into when they falsely claimed to have been passengers in an insured vehicle struck by a hit-and-run driver. The Maryland Auto Claims Adjuster assigned to the file was quick to spot suspicious fraud indicators when detailed recorded statements by the claimants failed to match up.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau picked up the Special Investigation Unit’s (SIU) referral and worked in concert with the City Prosecutor’s office to get the case prosecuted and secure felony criminal convictions against “Jane” and “Wilma.”
While these convictions may not have made a splash on the nightly news, the impact is broader than these two individuals. Additional investigation by our SIU team revealed both individuals to be linked to an insurance fraud ring featuring thirteen, suspected criminals who have been involved in at least sixteen suspected fraudulent losses.
Hopefully, members of this group will think twice before attempting additional insurance fraud, now that a couple of their collaborators have paid a real and steep price for their attempt to grab a few quick bucks.