Study reports Cali fraud bureau No. 1 in convictions

California’s insurance fraud bureau leads the nation in criminal convictions with more than a third of all convictions generated by those state agencies across the U.S., according to a study released Thursday.

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud said the study is a barometer of the nation’s annual progress against insurance fraud, which mounts up to $80 million annually.

The results were compiled from official figures reported by the 47 state fraud bureaus, and showed California’s fraud bureau unit logged 1,546 criminal convictions in 2005. Second was Florida with 493 convictions.

California leads the nation with 27,687 case leads the fraud unit received in 2005, the study said, slightly ahead of New York, which received nearly 26,000 leads. Leads come from a variety of sources such as insurance companies, local law enforcement, calls to the fraud hotline, and leads the fraud unit’s own investigators uncover.

California ranks second in cases it presented for potential criminal prosecution. Its 754 cases stand slightly behind Florida with 773 for 2005.

California’s fraud bureau brings more resources to the fraud fight than any other state, the study said. The unit’s top-ranked $36.8 million budget in 2006 was well ahead of New Jersey’s, which came in next with $29.7 million.

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud is a nonprofit alliance of consumer groups, insurers and government agencies combating all forms of insurance fraud.

San Jose Business Journal