Monday, June 15, 2009


Drunken drivers in Arizona who get the urge for some late-night food may soon be getting more than fast food at drive-through windows.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department has begun a new campaign focusing on drunken driving.

Operation Would U Like Fries, or Operation WULF, will place undercover deputies inside 24-hour fast-food restaurants to spot impaired drivers placing their orders. If deputies notice someone with classic symptoms of impairment — slurred speech, red or watery eyes or beer breath — they will have a uniformed deputy stationed outside pull the driver over.

Money for the intermittent program is courtesy of a $128,000 grant from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

  • California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced that Parmjit Kaur, 41, and her husband, Amarjit Singh, 52, both from Fresno, were arrested on June 5 and charged with felony insurance fraud.

On Dec. 23, 2008, Singh and Kaur reported their big rig stolen to the Fresno Police Department. After receiving a tip from the police department, the Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force opened an investigation and discovered that the vehicle was never parked at the location where Kaur and Singh allege it was stolen. Kaur allegedly provided false statements to police about the "theft" of the vehicle and its location.

The couple filed a claim with their insurance company, which paid out approximately $40,000.

  • The Nevada Division of Insurance reported that a Las Vegas insurance agent collected premiums from unsuspecting victims then failed to remit the funds to insurers.

At a Division of Insurance hearing, Anna Velasquez, president of ABC Auto & Home Insurance in Las Vegas, was found to have committed 120 violations of NRS 683A.451 and 120 violations of NRS 686A.230(1) when she misappropriated money received in the course of the business of insurance, intentionally misrepresented the terms of a contract or application of insurance and used fraudulent, coercive and dishonest practices in the conduct of business. Her licenses have been revoked, and she has been fined $90,000 for her violations. Authorities believe Velasquez is no longer in the country.

Upon receiving complaints about ABC Auto & Home Insurance - from both consumers and insurers - the Division assigned one of its enforcement officials to investigate. The investigator found a total of 120 documented instances of Velasquez failing to remit premiums from June 2007 to August 2008.

Velasquez's reported actions resulted in the non-remittance of roughly $43,000, in addition to other monetary and non-monetary losses to insurers and consumers (including cancellations, claims, and DMV fines).

  • In California, a former Cedars-Sinai Medical Center employee pleaded guilty Monday to stealing patient information to fraudulently bill insurance companies and collect more than $354,000.

James Allen Wilson, 45, entered the plea before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Samuel Mayerson just as the second day of Wilson’s preliminary hearing was scheduled to resume, said Deputy District Attorney Wendy Derzaph of the Healthcare Fraud Division.

Wilson pleaded guilty to one count each of identity theft, insurance fraud and grand theft and two counts of failure to file income taxes in 2005 and 2007. He was immediately sentenced to four years, eight months in prison. Mayerson also ordered him to pay $354,000 in restitution to LAUSD and $62,000 in back taxes and penalties to the state Franchise Tax Board.

When Wilson worked in the hospital’s billing department between 2003 and 2007, he allegedly stole the personal information of more than 1,000 patients. Of those, he used the personal information of 12 Los Angeles Unified School District employees. All 12 employees had filed workers’ compensation claims through the school district and all had been treated at the hospital.

Wilson was charged with using the personal information of 12 victims and fraudulently billing more than $1.3 million to third party insurance companies for medical treatment that was never provided. Derzaph said he collected $354,000 in the scam.

As part of today’s plea, Wilson agreed to repay all victims in all 52 counts for purposes of restitution, along with penalties and interest to the school district, which paid for treatment that employees never received. The remaining counts were dismissed.

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