RD114 - 2019 Annual Report on the Insurance Fraud Program
2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Virginia State Police Insurance Fraud Program which was established January 1, 1999 by legislation approved by the Virginia General Assembly. The program’s mission then, as it is today, was to reduce insurance fraud in the Commonwealth, a crime Virginians pay for through increased costs of goods and services and higher insurance premiums, by providing trained investigators and by increasing citizen awareness. In creating the program, Virginia joined at least 37 other states who had passed similar legislation.
The program began under the leadership of Captain Frank A. Williams, who was the Assistant Director of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Serving with him were a Deputy Assistant Director, two Assistant Special Agents-in-Charge, 14 Special Agents located in strategic locations throughout the state and three support staff positions. Today, the program is housed within the Bureau of Criminal Investigation Support Services Division led by Captain Norman E. Gray, Sr., with First Sergeant Thomas J. Molnar serving as the coordinator of IFP as well as the Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program. Through a cooperative effort with Commonwealth Attorney’s Offices in the City of Norfolk and Richmond, along with Arlington County, the Virginia State Police Insurance Fraud Program supports a special prosecutor position in each locality in order to prosecute those who commit insurance fraud. A fourth position is in the process of being filled in Salem. Staffing has been expanded to include three special prosecutor positions located in the City of Richmond, Norfolk and Arlington County, with a fourth position in Salem to be filled.
During its first year, the IFP responded to 642 notifications of suspected property and casualty fraud, which resulted in 183 investigations. Of the 183 investigations initiated, 29 cases were accepted for prosecution resulting in 54 arrests on various charges, and $15,978.00 was ordered in restitution.
With that solid foundation as a starting point, the numbers have increased significantly. In 2019, there were 1,894 notifications, which resulted in 872 investigations, 84 arrests, and $5,751,080.25 ordered in restitution.
Cumulatively, the program has an outstanding record, with 33,026 notifications received since its inception resulting in 9,876 investigations, 2,696 arrests and over $25 million ($25,029,597) ordered in restitution.
Education and training continue to play an important role in IFP’s work. In 2019 we conducted the 10th Red Flag training program which focuses on prosecuting insurance fraud by bringing together investigators and Commonwealth Attorneys. IFP also is a major sponsor of VAIASIU’s annual fraud seminar.
Educating the public about insurance fraud and the role they can play in preventing it or reporting it has been an IFP objective since the beginning. In 2019 a 20th anniversary campaign featured billboards in key areas of the state and digital advertising blanketed Virginia. A survey also was conducted to gain a deeper insight into consumer level of awareness and understanding of insurance fraud.
If there is any secret of success in IFP’s accomplishments, it is the cooperation of individuals and organizations from many fields working together to Stamp Out Fraud in Virginia. It is a shining example of a public/private partnership with VSP, local law enforcement agencies, the insurance industry and citizens all focusing on the same goal. That approach has well served the Commonwealth and I believe will do so as we begin a new decade of service.
/s/ Colonel Gary T. Settle