DES PLAINES, Ill., March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Cook County State's Attorney's Office and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) are joining forces to create a coordinated public-private partnership to crack down on the growing problem of insurance fraud in the Chicago area.
As part of the joint venture, the State's Attorney's Office is dedicating a team of prosecutors who will focus exclusively on the proactive investigation and prosecution of insurance crimes. These prosecutors will work closely with NICB investigators and the NICB's newly created Midwest Major Medical Fraud Task Force to seek criminal actions against those who target insurance companies and the public with phony or exaggerated claims.
The special prosecutors' arrangement is modeled on similar successful efforts in other cities where NICB has established Major Medical Fraud Task Forces. The first two were opened in Miami and New York in 2002 and others operate in Houston, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Tampa and Washington, D.C.
"Insurance fraud is a significant problem across the country that directly impacts responsible consumers who are forced to pay higher insurance premiums as a result of these thefts and schemes," said Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. "We are excited to be able to work with the NICB, its member companies and our law enforcement partners in this coordinated effort on behalf of consumers to attack this rising crime."
"We applaud the Cook County State's Attorney for partnering with us in this effort," said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. "NICB has been fighting insurance fraud and vehicle theft for more than 100 years, and we know that our efforts can only be successful if we have the support of our law enforcement partners and dedicated prosecutors who share our mission."
Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword "fraud" to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.
About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote $350 billion in insurance premiums in 2012, or more than 78 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($160 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.
With nearly 900 attorneys and more than 1,500 employees, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office is the second largest prosecutor's office in the nation, second only to Los Angeles County. The Assistant State's Attorneys in the office prosecute all misdemeanor and felony crimes committed in Cook County. In addition to direct criminal prosecution, the office files legal actions to enforce child support orders, protect consumers and the elderly from exploitation, and assists thousands of victims of domestic violence every year.
SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau