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Insurance Fraud / Auto Theft Unit

Purpose
Contact Us / Report Insurance Fraud
Disaster Fraud
What Can You Do?
Annual Report
News Flash
Newsletter
Insurance Fraud Statistics
Red Flags of Insurance Fraud
Louisiana Omnibus Auto Theft Prevention and Recovery Act
Other Links


Purpose

The Insurance Fraud Unit is responsible for investigating referrals of suspected fraudulent insurance acts; assisting federal and local law enforcement in the investigation of fraudulent insurance acts; cooperating with local prosecutors and the attorney general's office in the prosecution of fraudulent insurance acts; and promoting awareness of insurance fraud throughout the state.


Contact Us / Report Insurance Fraud



If you have any knowledge of a fraudulent scheme, report the activity to the Louisiana State Police by:

E-mail:

Phone: (225) 925-3701 or (225) 925-3702

Fax: (225) 925-3769

Mail:
Louisiana State Police
Bureau of Investigation
Insurance Fraud Unit
7919 Independence Blvd, Box A-19
Baton Rouge, LA 70806

For questions concerning physical inspection certifications please contact administrative coordinator Helena Graham at 225.925.3536






Disaster Fraud



What Can You Do?

  • Be aware of staged accidents, such as intentional sideswiping or cars that cut in front of other vehicles, forcing collisions due to quick stops.
  • Be aware of individuals that try to get you to leave the scene of an accident without calling police or obtaining a police report.
  • Be aware that some individuals report damage as vandalism in an attempt to cover deliberate or previous damage to one's own property.
  • Be aware of individuals making a false stolen vehicle claim to cover previous damage to a vehicle or to dispose of the vehicle.
  • Be aware of individuals that inflate genuine claims to cover a policy deductible.
  • Be aware of attempts to convince you that "everybody is getting rich" so you may as well try to get additional money also.
  • Be aware of the possibility that someone may set a small fire in their home to obtain a new paint or remodeling job.
  • Be aware of individuals that fake an on-the-job injury to stay off work after healing to collect Workers' Compensation benefits.



Annual Report



News Flash

Preacher Arrested for Insurance Fraud, Bank Fraud - June 1, 2009

BATON ROUGE Ė On Friday, May 29, 2009, the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft Unit arrested John Stephen Vaughn (W/M, 35 yrs old) on multiple charges of Insurance Fraud, Identity Theft, and Bank Fraud. The arrest was the result of an investigation into complaints made by Allianz Life insurance company and the Louisiana Department of Insurance (DOI).

In October 2007, Vaughn, using a fake Wyoming driverís license and the Social Security Number of a two-year old child living in Bogalusa, obtained an insurance producerís license from the Department of Insurance. Vaughn then defrauded Allianz Life by selling a $212,000 annuity to a person who did not exist. He received approximately $20,000 as part of his commission and this money was credited to a bank account under the assumed name. By the time Allianz Life realized the annuity sale was fraudulent, Vaughn had withdrawn the money from the bank account. During this process, he also defrauded his bank of $500.00 by withdrawing more funds than was available in the account.

Investigators were able to identify Vaughn due to bank surveillance photos and a MySpace web page posted on the internet.

Vaughn used multiple false addresses and went to several bank branches to facilitate the fraud. As a result, his criminal activities involved multiple jurisdictions. Pending charges against Vaughn include the following:

East Baton Rouge
14:133 Filing False Public Records (2 counts)
14:67.16 Identity Theft (1 count)
22:1924 Insurance Fraud (2 counts)

Livingston
14:67.16 Identity Theft (1 count)
14:71.1 Bank Fraud (1 count)
14:71 Issuing Worthless Checks (4 counts)
14:67 Felony Theft in the amount of $494.98

Jefferson
14:67.16 Identity Theft (1 count)
14:71.1 Bank Fraud (1 count)
14:67 Felony Theft in the amount of $19,080.00

Vaughn was located and arrested Friday afternoon in Abita Springs, LA. He was transported and booked into the Livingston Jail on the State Police arrest warrant. He will be booked in the other jurisdictions when released from Livingston. He is also a fugitive out of Franklin County in Tennessee.


State Police Cracking Down on Insurance Fraud Following Hurricanes - 09/14/08


Storm Awareness Fact Sheet

  • 31% of the Louisiana's households have flood insurance.

  • Flood insurance policies have increased 25% in Louisiana in the past year, to 495,200 policies.

  • 20 to 25% of all flood claims occur outside of the floodplain, in low to moderate flood risk areas.

  • Louisiana's close proximity to the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico, as well as the 50 rivers, streams and bayous in the state, leave many of our 1.6 million households at an increased flood risk.

  • In the last 10 years, Louisiana has experienced 11 flood-related, federally declared disasters.

  • There is a 26% chance of experiencing a flood during the life of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of fire.

  • Losses due to flooding are not covered under typical homeowners and business insurance policies.

  • Over the past five hurricane seasons, from 2002-2006, insured flood losses in Louisiana totaled more than $13.4 billion.

  • Approximately 96% of flood insurance claims in Louisiana have occurred during hurricane season over the past 10 years.

  • Some of the most damaging floods after a hurricane occur hundreds of miles from the coast.

  • Homeowners can purchase a flood insurance policy that offers a maximum of $250,000 coverage on the building and $100,000 coverage for contents. However, excess flood insurance coverage can be purchased for properties that need to be insured at a higher value.

  • Renters and lessees who meet underwriting criteria are eligible for contents-only coverage.

  • There is typically a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy takes effect.

  • The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through November 30.

  • The Atlantic hurricane season typically peaks between August 1 and late October.

  • The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season will be active with 13 to 17 named storms, 7 to 10 of which are expected to become hurricanes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

  • Of the 7 to 10 hurricanes forecast, 3 to 5 will be major ones of Category 3 or higher, with winds over 111 miles per hour, according to the NOAA annual forecast.

  • Hurricane Katrina: $16.7 billion in Louisiana insured losses; Over 720,000 claims filed.

  • Hurricane Rita: $2.6 billion in Louisiana insured losses; Over 201,000 claims filed.



Newsletter



Insurance Fraud Statistics

"Insurance fraud, whether committed by sophisticated criminals, otherwise honest consumers, or by insurance company employees and owners, is an increasingly expensive burden on the U.S. economy, affecting all citizens. This illegal activity diverts vital resources away from businesses, law enforcement, the civil justice system, regulatory agencies and local emergency services", states the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

Insurance fraud is the second costliest white-collar crime in America, after tax evasion. It is estimated that $80 billion is paid out each year in fraudulent insurance claims. It is estimated by the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud that the average American household pays over $950 a year in additional premiums to cover the cost of insurance fraud. Healthcare Fraud alone costs Americans $54 billion a year according to industry estimates.

The Insurance Research Council revealed some alarming information obtained from a recent survey regarding types of insurance crime that is considered "acceptable" by an unusually high percentage of the public. These types of insurance fraud include the following followed by the percentage of those surveyed who felt that it was acceptable:

  • Increasing the claim to cover the deductible - 40%

  • Increasing the claim to cover the premiums paid - 36%

  • Including defective or obsolete appliances on a lightning claim - 29%

  • Listing adults as main driver of a car being driven by an under age driver - 20%

  • Omitting accidents/tickets from an insurance application - 14%

  • Continuing medical treatment to increase the value of a claim - 11%

  • Pretending a hit-and-run accident occurred to submit a claim - 7%

  • Abandoning a car and reporting it stolen to the insurance company - 6%

  • Reporting an injury at home as work related in order to collect workers' compensation benefits - 10%

  • Cooperating with lawyers, doctors or chiropractors to file false or exaggerated workers' compensation claims to get money from insurers - 17%

Insurance fraud is a crime that costs Louisiana citizens alone over 2.3 billion dollars a year, through higher taxes, increased insurance premiums, and higher costs of goods and services.



Red Flags of Insurance Fraud

Worker's Compensation Premium Fraud - occurs when an employer provides false information in order to obtain a lower insurance rating.

Red Flags:

  • The employee's injuries are not consistent with the employee's job classification or the nature of the business.

  • The employee states that his/her employer is other than what is listed on the claim form.

  • The employee disputes information supplied by the employer on the first report of injury.

  • The employee disputes the average weekly wage due additional income (i.e., cash, per diem, and/or 1099 income).

  • There are cross-outs and erasures on the injury forms.

  • The employer refuses to cooperate in the claims investigation; refuses to provide employee with claim form.

  • Employer's witnesses to the accident are generally management personnel.

  • The employer is routinely cited for safety violations.

  • Employer paying medical bills and not reporting injuries.

Worker's Compensation Fraud - occurs when an employee files an inflated or false injury claim in order to receive benefits or increase benefits.

Red Flags:

  • Employee is disgruntled, soon-to-retire, or facing imminent firing or layoff.

  • Employee takes more time off than the claimed injury seems to warrant.

  • Employee is new on the job.

  • Employee is experiencing financial difficulties and/or domestic problems prior to submission of claim.

  • Employee is unusually familiar with workers' compensation claim handling procedures and laws.

  • Employee has several other family members also receiving workers' compensation benefits or other "social insurance" benefits, i.e. unemployment.

  • Surveillance or "tip" indicates that the totally disabled worker is currently employed elsewhere.

  • Employee comes to office for delivery of benefit checks, avoids use of US Mail.

  • Employee cancels or fails to keep appointment, or refuses a diagnostic procedure to confirm an injury.

  • Social Security number provided does not belong to employee.

  • Employee refuses or cannot produce solid or correct identification.

Staged Accident Fraud - occurs when a person intentionally causes or is involved in an accident, or walks in and reports an accident in order to receive compensation for false or intentional damages and injuries.

Red Flags:

  • Claimant has prior accidents of similar circumstances.

  • Claimant has multiple past claims with same attorney.

  • Claimant is unemployed.

  • Lack of familiar or personal relationships between occupants of claimant vehicle.

  • Inconsistencies in multiple claimants' versions of seating in vehicle, why claimants were in vehicle, and destination of claimants.

  • Claimant demonstrates familiarity with claims process and claim evaluation.

  • Presence of an overly enthusiastic witness at the accident scene.

  • Claimant has recently purchased vehicle, and/or insurance.

  • Victim is usually female or elderly.

Property Fraud - the falsification or inflation of a claim for the loss of personal property in order to obtain a larger settlement.

Red Flags:

  • Insured is overly pushy for a quick settlement.

  • Insured handles all business in person, thus avoiding the use of the mail.

  • Losses are incompatible with insured's resident, occupation and/or income.

  • Losses include a large amount of cash.

  • Insured is willing to accept an inordinately small settlement rather than document all claims losses.

  • Buildings and/or contents were up for sale at the time of the loss.

  • Suspiciously coincidental absence of family pet at the time of fire.

  • Building and/or business was recently purchased.

  • Building is in deteriorating condition and/or lacks proper maintenance.

  • Fire scene investigation reveals absence of items of sentimental value; e.g. family Bible, family photos, trophies.

  • No police report or an over-the-counter report in situations where police would normally investigate.

  • Insured's loss inventory differs significantly from police department's crime report.

Disaster Fraud - occurs in the aftermath of a disaster when the insured claims false or inflated claims on intentionally caused or pre-existing damage.

Red Flags:

  • Insured declares extensive losses without physical evidence, photographs or documented receipts.

  • Items claimed to not match claimant's lifestyle, decor, house, occupation or income.

  • Lack of carpet indentation from alleged large furniture or appliances.

  • Insured is overly pushy for quick settlement.

  • Investigation reveals absence of family photographs, heirlooms or items of sentimental value.

  • Affected area was not evacuated.

  • No other homes were damaged or destroyed in the affected area.

  • Insured claims items were new.

  • Insured can't properly describe items as to function or features.

  • Insured property was not located in major damaged area.

  • Property was in poor condition prior to loss.

  • Insured cannot produce damaged item(s) for viewing.

  • Insured claims unrepaired damage from a previous disaster.

Securities / Promissory Notes Fraud - the marketing and selling of investment opportunities that do not qualify with the regulations set forth by or have not been registered with the Office of Financial Institutions.

Red Flags:

  • Unbelievable interest rate offered on investment. If it seems "to good to be true". . . it probably is.

  • An agent or other representative urges you to pay with cash.

  • A salesperson urges you to cash in your certificates of deposit (despite the interest penalty) and put the money into investments, annuities, or life insurance policies.

Vehicle Theft Fraud - occurs when the owner of a vehicle disposes of or fraudulently reports their vehicle stolen in an attempt secure a settlement.

Red Flags:

  • Insured has lived at current address less than six months, or been with current employer less than six months.

  • Insured does not have a telephone or is difficult to contact.

  • Insured is unemployed.

  • Insured claims expensive contents in vehicle at the time of theft.

  • Insured is behind in loan payments on vehicle and/or other financial obligations.

  • Insured has a previous history of vehicle theft claims.

  • Vehicle was recently purchased.

  • Vehicle has a history of mechanical problems or is a "gas guzzler".

  • Vehicle has incorrect VIN, or VIN is different than VIN appearing on the title.

  • Vehicle is recovered with seized engine or blown transmission.

  • Vehicle is recovered stripped, burned, or has severe collision damage within a short duration of the time after loss allegedly occurred.

  • Loss occurs within one month of issue or expiration of the policy.

  • Coverage was obtained via walk-in business to agent.

  • Coverage is for minimum liability with full comprehensive coverage on late model and/or expensive vehicle.

  • Police report has not been made by insured or has been delayed.

  • License plate does not match vehicle and/or is not registered to insured.

  • Salvage yard or repair garage takes unusual interest in claim.

Louisiana Omnibus Auto Theft Prevention and Recovery Act

Beginning on July 1, 2010, the procedure for performing Physical Inspections of motor vehicles will change.  On this date, ACT 435 will go into effect.  This law states, “Any physical inspection of a vehicle for the purpose of vehicle identification shall be by a full-time Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) certified law enforcement officer who has been trained and certified by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, office of state police, to inspect motor vehicles.” It specifies that only commissioned law enforcement officers who have completed an approved physical inspection training class taught by State Police can perform physical inspections on motor vehicles (R.S. 32:706.2). 

A data base will be maintained by the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud/Auto Theft Unit of those officers qualified to perform physical inspections in the state of Louisiana.  This data base will be available to authorized Office of Motor Vehicles personnel so they can verify that the physical inspection forms received in their office are completed by a certified individual.  Physical inspection forms that have names and signatures of individuals not on the official certification list will not be accepted for processing.

Training classes consist of a four (4) hour block of instruction.  Training will be offered in all troop areas and will be coordinated by each Insurance Fraud Unit field office.  Officers who attend the class will be issued a numbered certification card.  This number will be required on the new physical inspection forms, along with the commissioned law enforcement officer’s signature.  The new physical inspection forms can be obtained at the State Police headquarters supply building, or at your local troop after June 15, 2010.

Please contact one of the following field offices for further information:

Unit Supervisor’s Office
Lt. Trevor Smith (Supervisor):  225.925.3701
Michele Aucoin (Analyst):  225.925.3702
Fax:  225.925.3769
Helena Graham (Administrative Coordinator): 225.925.3850

Baton Rouge Field Office
Sgt. Rickie Guhman: 225.925.3850


New Orleans Field Office
Sgt. Rodney Perkins:  504.471.2716


Lafayette Field Office
Sgt. David Stelly: 337.262.2051


Alexandria Field Office
Sgt. Belinda Murphy: 318.484.2190 (x 108)


Shreveport Field Office
Sgt. Michael Wilkerson: 318.862.9913


Monroe Field Office
Sgt. Keith Phenix: 318.362.4588

Other Links