Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Insurance Commissioner John Doak announced plans to revamp how insurance fraud is investigated and prosecuted in Oklahoma.
“Our two offices are statutorily bound together when it comes to investigating fraud,” Doak said. “By working together, we can improve the investigation and prosecution of those who perpetrate fraud and better protect insurance ratepayers.”
Pruitt and Doak’s offices have begun analyzing how best to coordinate resources and refine the process by which both offices initiate, prepare and complete claimant fraud investigations for prosecution.
The Insurance Department intends to focus on higher-level fraud and other insurance crimes committed by agents and company executives that costs Oklahoma’s ratepayers millions of dollars annually. The Attorney General’s Office will expand prosecutions and investigations of claimant fraud.
“I want to make Oklahoma a dangerous place to be an insurance criminal,” Doak said. “If you are an agent or a company executive who is violating the trust of Oklahoma’s insurance consumers and the laws of this state, you can expect to be investigated and prosecuted by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and the Attorney General’s Office.”
As the cornerstone in building his anti-fraud crime team, the Attorney General has hired former prosecutor Vincent Antonioli to head the Workers’ Compensation and Insurance Fraud Unit, and plans to hire additional investigators and prosecutors to begin vigorously pursuing and prosecuting claimant fraud in workers’ compensation and insurance at large.
Michael Copeland has joined the Oklahoma Insurance Department as a fraud attorney. Copeland will develop and direct investigative procedures that deliver on Doak’s promise to better protect Oklahoma consumers from insurance fraud. Copeland previously served as an assistant attorney general and later as special prosecutor for the Republic of Palau, a former United States Protectorate.
“We are confident our plan will result in increased prosecutions of high-level fraud committed by a few bad actors in the industry and reduce everyday fraudulent claims that are driving up the cost of insurance and doing business in our state,” Pruitt said.
The Oklahoma Anti-Fraud Unit also employs experienced Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) certified law enforcement officers that conduct investigations of various white-collar crimes related to insurance fraud. The Anti-Fraud Unit works closely with a number of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to bring offenders to justice.
The Anti-Fraud Unit also conducts regulatory investigations of civil violations within the insurance industry. The Anti-Fraud Unit works closely with the OID Legal Division in these administrative proceedings to discipline those entities engaged in wrongdoing.
Oklahoma is a “mandatory reporting” state when it comes to suspected or alleged fraud. This means that insurance companies doing business in the State of Oklahoma are required by law to immediately report suspected insurance fraud to the Anti-Fraud Unit.
Report insurance fraud and related white-collar crimes to the Anti-Fraud Unit by calling (800) 522-0071 or (405) 521-6614. Visit www.ok.gov/oid for more information.