A local defense attorney says there has been so much publicity surrounding auto insurance fraud cases that his clients are unable to get fair trials here. Their cases, he says, should be moved out of Essex County.
Rubbish. Those charged with fraud should be tried right here, their cases heard by juries of their peers â€” those law-abiding citizens who in many cases must pay exorbitant rates to subsidize the greed of those who think they’re only stealing from big, faceless insurance companies.
Haverhill defense attorney Glenn Herlihy says he’s shocked by the number of news stories and editorials there have been on this subject locally. He shouldn’t be. The Eagle-Tribune newspapers have worked diligently to expose auto insurance fraud for the serious crime that it is.
We understand Herlihy’s only duty is to serve his clients. But we’re struck by the cynicism of a memo he sent to his fellow attorneys urging that they join him in seeking changes in venue for all of their auto fraud cases.
“The threat of having to move these to another county might well resolve some of these cases. … Often there’s strength in numbers!” he wrote.
Individual fraud cases are often small, amounting to only a few thousand dollars each. But collectively, it adds up to a multimillion-dollar criminal enterprise that has helped make Massachusetts auto insurance rates among the highest in the nation.