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27 people charged with insurance fraud in statewide sweep

27 Pennsylvania residents have been arrested and charged with various forms of insurance fraud, according to a recent report. The arrests were announced on September 22 by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

The arrests were the result of investigations recently conducted by the Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Section. The criminal charges included a variety of common insurance fraud claims. For instance, two men from Trenton were accused of deliberately burning a car and making a $25,000 claim under an automobile insurance policy. Three individuals from Western Pennsylvania were accused of using forged prescriptions and insurance claim forms to obtain thousands of prescription painkillers. A woman who earned more than $20,000 as a private caregiver was accused of obtaining more than $38,000 in insurance benefits by claiming to be totally and permanently disabled. No criminal trials have been scheduled in connection with the 27 arrests as of yet.

The activities of the Insurance Fraud Section of the Attorney General's office are funded in part by payments from insurance companies, as required by a statute enacted in 1994. Each insurance company that is licensed to operate in Pennsylvania must pay an annual assessment into the Fraud Trust Fund.

However, the Attorney General's statements in announcing the arrests obscured the fact that, like all other criminal defendants, the individuals who were arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Insurance fraud cases often depend upon the authenticity of claim forms and other documents, as well as the signatures on those documents. This can bring up issues with handwriting and document authentication on the items of purported evidence.

Source: Insurance Journal, "27 Arrested in Pennsylvania's Statewide Insurance Fraud Sweep," Sept. 25, 2014

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