According to the Insurance Journal, the Harris County District Attorney's Office recently announced that it has hired a new insurance fraud prosecutor and investigator with financial assistance from The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). The move, it is said, is an attempt to be proactive in regard to insurance fraud.
Dallas readers may be aware that the TDI already has a similar working agreement with the Dallas County District Attorney's Office. So far, the team has obtained 250 conviction of insurance fraud. The same success is expected in Harris County.
Not surprisingly, the goal of the new hires is none other than to "get tough" on fraud crimes and send a clear message that there will be no compromise.
According to Commission Kitzman of the TDI, "We hope to send a message that we are going to prosecute these cases and seek the highest penalties possible, in restitution fines and imprisonment. There will be no confidential settlements. This will be publicized. This is really not effective unless people know about it."
What is concerning about this is that efforts to combat fraud are seen by authorities not as individual cases which may or may not involve criminal activity, but a big game where prosecution flexes its muscles and covers its ears.
All too often, efforts to ramp up investigative and prosecutorial efforts translate into a lack of discernment and a bulldozing forward in the name of justice. When a person is charged with fraud, they deserve a fair hearing. For those involved in criminal activity, the punishment must fit the crime, and extenuating circumstances need to be taken into account. Each case should be seen uniquely, not as something to rubber stamp with the highest penalties in proud authority.
Source: Insurance Journal, "Officials Strengthen Insurance Fraud Prosecution in Southeast Texas," May 10, 2012