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HOME > Prosecutions > Fraud

 
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   Auto Insurance    Consumer    Welfare    Workers Comp    Real Estate Fraud  
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Auto Insurance Fraud
  To Report Auto Insurance Fraud, call (559) 636-5410  
  Tulare County has experienced a broad range of fraudulent automobile insurance claims over the past 10 years. Cases of individuals deliberately destroying vehicles to make claims and escape financial obligations are relatively common. Recently schemes to defraud auto insurers through falsified repair costs and staged accidents have been uncovered and investigated by this office. These claims have steadily increased in number and sophistication and have resulted in serious loss to the insurance industry over the past several years. This loss is then passed on to the consumer through increased insurance rates.

To meet this growing problem, our office established the Auto Insurance Fraud Unit in 1994. This unit investigates and vertically prosecutes cases involving vehicle insurance fraud. This unit has the expertise and ability to take a case from filing to sentencing. An experienced and trained deputy district attorney and investigator are assigned to this program. Caseloads are reduced in order to provide the attorney with the ability to focus maximum attention to program cases.
 
   
Consumer Fraud
  To Report Consumer Fraud, fill out the form - DOWNLOAD COMPLAINT FORM HERE
Phone (559) 636-5410, Email TCDAConsumerProtect@co.tulare.ca.us
 
The principle of caveat emptor ("buyer beware"), prevalent until the 20th century, has given way to consumer protection statutes which protect unwary consumers from false advertising and deceptive, unfair and otherwise unlawful business practices, as well as protecting honest businesses from unscrupulous operators in the marketplace.

The District Attorney believes that restitution is an important factor in these types of cases. Restitution for individual consumers, where appropriate, is always a component of the remedies sought. In cases where individual consumer victims cannot be identified, the District Attorney has developed the Direct Community Benefit Program. Through this program, violators have the opportunity to make a contribution which will benefit the community as a whole.
 
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Welfare Fraud
  To Report Welfare Fraud, call 559-623-0250  
While many government programs fall into the category labeled "welfare," discussions of welfare fraud and welfare reform generally focus upon Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Food Stamps.

The focus upon these programs is appropriate in Tulare
County. There are 346,000 people living here and of those approximately 160,000 are considered employable and part of the work force. However, more than 60,000 are receiving AFDC or Food Stamps. Tulare County, with the highest per capita rate of public assistance in the
United States, pays out $10,987,055 in AFDC and $3,863,000 in Food Stamps every month.

Welfare programs are good and necessary, but because of the growing number of welfare cheats, the public has begun to view welfare as a problem. The Office of the District Attorney calls welfare cheats "criminals" and deals with them as with any other criminal.

In 2000, the District Attorney filed criminal charges against 170 welfare cheats, who stole more than one million dollars from the AFDC and Food Stamp programs. Most were sentenced to serve time in the county jail, a few went to prison and some were required to give volunteer service instead of jail time. All were required to repay the stolen money and most have a felony conviction on their records.

The Welfare Fraud Unit has a full-time attorney and a large investigative team to discover, arrest and prosecute welfare criminals. In addition, the Early Fraud Detection/Prevention Program identifies ineligible applicants and saved an estimated $18 million dollars in 2000.

The District Attorney has a zero-tolerance policy on welfare fraud, which means that any time there is a provable case of welfare fraud, the criminal will be prosecuted regardless of the amount stolen or their personal situation.
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Worker's Compensation Fraud
To Report Worker's Compensation Fraud, call (559) 636-5410
Worker's compensation fraud harms employers by contributing to the increasing high cost of worker's compensation insurance and harms employees by undermining the perceived legitimacy of all worker's compensation claims. Worker's compensation fraud has burgeoned into a $5 billion dollar drain on insurance companies and on our state. Prevention of worker's compensation insurance fraud assists in restoring confidence in the worker's compensation system and also facilitates expedient and full compensation for employees with legitimate injuries.
 
In response to this growing problem, the Worker's Compensation Insurance Fraud Unit was established by this office in 1994. The program has been recognized by the Department of Insurance for productivity in 1995 and 1996. The program investigates and vertically prosecutes cases involving worker's compensation insurance fraud. The unit consists of one specialized district attorney investigator and one vertical prosecutor.
 
This unit has the expertise and ability to take a case from filing to sentencing, as only experienced and trained prosecutors are assigned to this program. Caseloads are reduced in order to provide the program attorney with the ability to focus maximum attention on program cases. This intense level of concentration yields increased convictions and sentences.

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Office of the District Attorney, County of Tulare
 ▫  221 S Mooney Blvd, Rm 224, Visalia, CA 93291-4593    (559) 636-5494
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