Posts Tagged ‘insurance fraud’

Law enforcement for profit roundup

  • “Why Morristown officers seized the cars in the first place is unclear.” Maybe because it enabled an officer to pocket $6,000? [Tennessee: Watchdog] Louisiana town getting 87% of its revenue from traffic tickets has 188 people, 5 cop cars [Marshall Project via Balko] For second time, this time in Chicago case, former CEO of red light camera company cops a federal plea [Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica]
  • Opposition from law enforcement shoots down asset forfeiture reform in California [Scott Shackford/Reason, more] Despite talk of being friendlier to forfeiture reform, Department of Justice fed talking points to reform opponents in California battle [TechDirt] “Most Americans don’t realize it’s this easy for police to take your cash” [Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post “WonkBlog”]
  • Other side of the ledger: how governments pay for claims against law enforcement [Joanna Schwartz, SSRN via TortsProf]
  • Louisville traffic school allows violators to get cases “dismissed without having to pay court costs… and generates revenue to operate the county attorney’s office” [Insurance Journal]
  • Lawsuit alleges private probation companies in Tennessee abusing power, free-marketers should be as worried as anyone else about misalignment of private, public incentives [Radley Balko, earlier]
  • Odd how feds can prevent someone resisting extradition from contesting asset forfeiture [Trevor Burrus/Cato, Ilya Somin on Kim Dotcom case]
  • Insurers often pool funds to support insurance fraud prosecution efforts, but critics say Travis County, Texas prosecutors are needlessly close to a single company [Texas Tribune]

When prosecutors collect private grants

In Altoona, Pa., a private philanthropic group assisted by local businesses has funneled millions of dollars to local prosecutors to go after illegal drug cases [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette] Leaders of the group, called Operation Our Town, “said they don’t pressure prosecutors, and only publish the annual arrest and prosecution numbers as a way to raise funds.” Still, the practice sheds light on the changing status of privately assisted prosecutions, which were common in the Nineteenth Century but then came under an ethical cloud:

“It’s pretty much disappeared, in part because we want disinterested prosecutors who answer to the public, and not to individuals,” said Bruce A. Green, director of the Stein Center for Law and Ethics at Fordham University in New York.

Decisions by courts in California and Tennessee, among other places, have disapproved of private subsidies to prosecutors in cases where private parties had themselves been victimized by a crime or wanted to see more enforcement of obscenity laws. On the other hand, insurance and banking industry financial participation in efforts to investigate crimes like insurance fraud and bank robbery is widely accepted, although some trial lawyers have raised questions about insurers’ role.

In Key West, Fla., last year, nonprofit groups steered funds to underwrite a local prosecutor assigned to handle drunken driving cases. The arrangement died after defense attorney Jiulio Margalli sued, saying it violated state law.

“Do you want the motivation to be justice,” asked Mr. Margalli, “or do you want the motivation of the prosecutor to be a guilty verdict so that that [office] could continue to receive funding from the organization who paid them?”

Philadelphia: creative uses for deer carcasses

After two insurance companies noticed patterns of suspicious claims associated with the same Philadelphia body shop, 41 persons were charged in what prosecutors say was a multi-faceted array of fraud schemes involving the participation of insurance adjusters, police, a municipal official and tow truck drivers. “According to investigators, Galati Sr. routinely created false accounts of vehicles being damaged by accidents involving falling objects, deer, and other animals to increase amounts received for insurance claims. Investigators say Galati Sr. went as far as to have employees gather and store deer blood, hair and carcasses in the shop’s garage to be used as props in photos that were later submitted with insurance claims.” Other misconduct charged includes deliberate crashing and vandalism of vehicles, and the obtaining of a $1.8 million contract with the city of Philadelphia for which investigators claim Galati’s shop lacked the contract requirements. [NBC Philadelphia, Auto Body News]

January 10 roundup

Not just for viral Russian videos

The price of dashboard cameras has dropped to the point of an impulse purchase, but they still haven’t become common in the United States among motorists, those in law enforcement aside. They hold promise as a way of improving the allocation of fault in collisions, and especially in curbing varieties of insurance fraud such as the “swoop-and-squat,” but Popular Mechanics surely hasn’t thought matters through when it asserts, “In the real world, it means you win and the other guy loses in a dispute.” At least if the other guy was in the wrong and the camera was pointed in the right direction…

October 18 roundup

  • In Motor City of “Detropia,” sole remaining industrial-scale activity is the grinding of axes [Asron Renn, Urbanophile]
  • Challenge to independent-contractor status: “Strippers Win $13 Million Class Settlement” [Courthouse News Service]
  • “Homeowners Who Spent $220K in Legal Fees to Fight $2K HOA Lawn Bill Win Court Case After 11 Years” [ABA Journal]
  • Logical skills no prerequisite for brief-drafting job with Florida attorney general’s office [Volokh]
  • Death of officer in high-speed chase leads to notice of tort claim against NJ town [South Jersey Times]
  • “Man Who Made Fake Dead Cat Insurance Claim to Be Sentenced; May Have Tried Same Stunt with Fake Dead Parrot” [Seattle Weekly]
  • Dallas lawyer who sued TV station over not passing along referral calls is now in another spot of bother [SE Texas Record]

Torts roundup

  • House Judiciary passes measure (FACT Act) promoting transparency of asbestos trusts, could preserve assets for honest claimants by curbing n-tuple dippers [Harold Kim/US Chamber, Ted Frank] “$48 million jackpot justice asbestos award for 86-year-old” [Frank]
  • Canadian court: car crash caused chronic cough [Magraken]
  • Push in Connecticut legislature to ease expert testimony threshold, thus enabling more med-mal suits [Zachary Janowski, Raising Hale]
  • Georgia court: residents on notice of wild alligators, golf club not liable for elderly woman’s demise [Daily Report]
  • “NYT is inconceivably shocked that NYC defends itself in lawsuits instead of blindly writing multimillion $ checks.” [@tedfrank]
  • Arizona court declines Third Restatement’s invitation to gut duty prerequisite in tort law [David Oliver]
  • Vintage insurance fraud: “The Slip-and-fall Queen” [Brendan Koerner via @petewarden]
  • Relaxation of fault in auto cases: “Richard Nixon’s Torts Note” [Robinette, TortsProf] “Reforming the Reform: No-Fault Auto Insurance” [same]

April 25 roundup

March 15 roundup

  • Part III of Radley Balko series on painkiller access [HuffPo]
  • “Note: Add ‘Judge’s Nameplate’ to List of Things Not to Steal” [Lowering the Bar]
  • California’s business-hostile climate: if the ADA mills don’t get you, other suits might [CACALA]
  • Bottom story of the month: ABA president backs higher legal services budget [ABA Journal]
  • After string of courtroom defeats, Teva pays to settle Nevada propofol cases [Oliver, earlier]
  • Voting Rights Act has outstayed its constitutional welcome [Ilya Shapiro/Cato] More: Stuart Taylor, Jr./The Atlantic.
  • Huge bust of what NY authorities say was $279 million crash-fraud ring NY Post, NYLJ, Business Insider, Turkewitz (go after dishonest docs on both sides)]