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Undercover Sting Uncovers Auto Insurance Fraud

Car insurance fraud is something that many auto insurance companies face on a daily basis. It is very sad that criminals feel it necessary to take advantage of their auto insurers by staging accidents and filing false auto claims for accidents that they faked on purpose. Law enforcement officials have begun cracking down on people who engage in this type of illegal activity.
In Tampa Bay, Florida law enforcement officers from Hillsborough County took action against multiple assailants who have allegedly staged car accidents. The police involved call their investigation into the auto insurance fraud “Operation No Pain No Gain”. Officers had fifty three arrest warrants issued to them to enforce.
The investigation has been very thorough; investigators spent more than five months gathering evidence.  Officers conducted the investigation by going undercover. They found that the medical clinics had been deeply involved in alleged criminal misdeeds. Some of the alleged illegal activities that were being engaged in included the following: money laundering, trafficking of women and even extortion. On Thursday May 12, 2011, they executed the arrest warrants and went to four different medical clinics that were allegedly engaging in writing fraudulent insurance bills to auto insurance companies.
The defendants had been staging accidents for a while and then collecting money from the auto insurance companies that insured themselves and the drivers that they hit.  Undercover officers were able to uncover the main people behind the fraud ring by going to people and finding those individuals that were coordinating the auto fraud. They were then told to go to the four medical clinics involved and give them insurance documents for the clinic’s staff to fill out and submit.
Florida has been known for several years as the automobile insurance capital of the United States. This can be a deterrent to prospective residents so the state is trying its back to crackdown on clinics that engage in this behavior. According to reports, one clinic alone could cost auto insurers more than one million dollars before they are caught. This can be a huge burden to not only the auto insurer but also to others that have insurance coverage through the insurer.
Personal injury protection fraud has become a very easy form of insurance fraud to commit. This is because according to Florida law in an auto accident a person can get ten thousand dollars that they can put towards getting the medical attention that they require. Florida is a no fault state so the driver can still receive these insurance benefits even if they themselves caused the accident in the first place. This has helped many criminals in their quest to make quick money. They stage a car accident with someone and then file an insurance claim. After they have filed the claim they go to a medical clinic that commits fraud and asks for documents showing that they received medical treatments even though they never did. Then, when the claim is process and the compensation is issued, all parties involved split the proceeds from the staged accident.
Hopefully, the fact that a few people were arrested due to this investigation will make people wake up and report more instances of auto insurance fraud. Drivers need to understand that every time they let an instance of fraud go by that they are punishing themselves and others because they will face higher auto insurance premiums. Florida law enforcement officers need to continue doing these undercover operations to help auto insurers find those responsible for staging car accidents and then trying to collect money due to the state’s PIP laws.
Source: My Fox Tampa Bay