Riverside County awarded $2.4 million to battle insurance fraud

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State insurance commissioner Dave Jones visited Riverside Thursday to unveil a new effort that targets worker’s compensation and auto insurance fraud.

At a news conference, Jones handed over one of those giant cardboard checks to Riverside District Attorney Paul Zellerbach.

“We have our work cut out for us, but grants like this? Believe me, I’ll take $2.5 million to my budget every day of the week,” Zellerbach said.

The $2.5 million is just a fraction of state grants doled out to California counties to combat workers’ comp cams and other insurance frauds.

Zellerbach says the Inland region is seeing a surge of such cases. He ties it to the downturn in the economy.

“We’re out there combating this type of activity. Unfortunately in these tough economic times we’ve seen an increase in automobile insurance fraud, workers’ compensation fraud,” he said. “We also have life and annuity fraud and that’s on the upswing as well, so this affects not only the insurance providers but all of us because it affects the premiums that we pay every day.”

Southern California counties received the biggest share of $35 million in state funds dispersed to counties. L.A. and Orange County combined got $9 million in anti-insurance fraud funding.

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