NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Northwestern District Attorney’s office was awarded thousands of dollars to crackdown on insurance fraud.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau gave the DA’s office a $25,000 grant to support efforts to identify and prosecute schemers who commit auto insurance fraud.
Assistant Northwestern DA Steve Gagne said Helen Chen defrauded the state out of more than $100,000. Gagne said Chen fraudulently obtained insurance policies in western Massachusetts for more than 50 people in New York.
“They were obtaining insurance policies for vehicles, by claiming they lived in Greenfield, Easthampton or Northampton,” said Gagne.
Chen was found guilty, and the IFB of Massachusetts has awarded the DA’s office $25,000 to fight fraud for the last seven years.
“Through these instances of fraud,” said Gagne. “Ultimately, the insurance company are passing the cost down to consumers and collectively, that raises insurance rates for all consumers, even the law abiding ones that may never have a crash.”
Through its community initiative, the IFB of Massachusetts has been able recoup through restitution or stop payments on more than $1 billion in fraudulent claims paid since 2003. Saving the average driver around $162 a year.
Schemes range from people claiming they were hit while parked to people using different addresses in exchange for lower premiums.
Since 2011, the Northwestern DA’s office has collaborated with the IFB and prosecuted approximately 60 insurance fraud cases.